Tuesday, July 27, 2004

SPORTS: Vinsanity

It's been days since I wrote about Vince Carter. And I do think the time is passing in the career of Vincent Lamar Carter, Toronto Raptor. He's been in town getting ready for Friday's charity game for his foundation. In that time, he's done nothing to calm the troubled local waters. We might be as little as four days away from his exit.

What's changed is that Dallas made a trade in the last 24 hours to add another centre, sending Danny 'Almost a Raptor' Fortson to the Seattle Sonics for Calvin Booth. That gives Dallas five centres, with Booth, Shawn Bradley, Christian Laettner and a couple of rookies including Pavel Podkolzine all standing tall in the middle. AND Dallas head honcho Don Nelson is stumping for a veteran guard to 'help' out rookie Devin Harris and sometimes point Marquis Daniels, a sophomore.

Doesn't that sound like a Bradley/Alvin Williams deal makes sense? Want to toss a little more sugar into Dallas' cup of contemplation. Throw in Jerry Stackhouse for Lamond Murray. Dallas gets a shorter contract and the odds are that Murray will be more motivated than Stackhouse. But the deal that makes the most sense is one that gives Dallas the big upside ... Adding Carter and Michael Finley into the trade.

On the face of it, Carter has another level to go, Murray is an underacheiving 20-pt scorer just three years ago and a healthy Williams is a BIG asset, an unhealthy one a small asset. Dallas could win this trade big.

Why would Toronto do this trade? Carter has to go. The task is to find value and Finley represents that value. He won't score 50 any time soon, but he's going to defend and throw in 20 regularly. Stackhouse is poison, a pill to be absorbed. But he can't be any more poisonous than Murray and he's a 20-point threat (offensively and defensively) any time he plays. Frankly, in a non-Carter screwup universe, the trade that makes sense is just Williams for Bradley. Bradley comes over to be the fourth man in the power rotation and to be a mentor of sorts for another man/boy out of Mormon country, Rafael Araujo.

The Raptors could start Rafer Alston, Finley, Jalen Rose, Chris Bosh and Bradley and then come in with a second unit of Milt Palacio, Rose at the two-guard, Stackhouse, Donyell Marshall and Araujo. Jerome Moiso, Roger Mason and an unyet unsigned wingman would fill out your bench. Dion Glover, who I was once told would never play in the NBA, could fill that spot. If new coach Sam Mitchell wants a ten-man rotation, the tenth guy would have to be a shooter. Hubert Davis might be a fit.

What kind of team would the Raptors be post-Carter? Stackhouse and Rose are not defensive wonders and Alston isn't much either. Bradley is nothing BUT defence. This team would contend for a middling visitor's playoff seed, maybe even a #5. There's downside curves on the careers of Finley, Rose, Bradley and Stackhouse. Marshall would have to be traded to get some value late in the season. But by then, hopefully Bosh and Araujo would be the power guys with only a little help needed from Bradley and Moison. Making the playoffs would mean no draft pick come next summer. Thus, this would be a team that would have to basically play for the next two years as is.

What's the alternative? Not much of anything.

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