The recent trades by the Raptors, particularly the one including Rudy Gay reminded me a lot of the line that is used by Roy Garber on the television series Shipping Wars.
The phrase goes something along the lines of “nickels holding up a dollar”.
This could probably mean a few different things, especially when considering that the line of work in Shipping Wars is quite different than that of a professional sports team. But, in this case, I’ll put it in the context of cashing out on an investment early.
You see, Bryan Colangelo made a lot of “win now” moves, especially recently. The reasons behind it are still unclear. But, you get the idea that it’s probably because he’s trying to take a few short cuts in order to save his job.
The problem with that though, is not only is it a bad decision now, but even more so in the future.
Now, when you think of the word loyalty, you would usually associate it with being a good thing. However, Bryan Colangelo’s loyalty to his players has been one of his biggest weaknesses thus far.
It has been crippling to a franchise that has needed change for many years. For several seasons now, we’ve all been witness to the special treatment that his “guys” Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan have been given.
We also see that now with Jonas Valanciunas being put into a starting role when he probably isn’t ready. Considering that the requirements of the job include picking up the slack on the defensive end for others who don’t play that end of the floor (you know who I’m talking about). Although it’s fair to say that Jonas deserves his chance right now, he’s simply not ready to take on the burden himself.
While others, who he took simply because his “guys” weren’t available (Ed Davis, Terrence Ross) are left sitting on the bench, and offered in trade packages for more of his “guys” as seen in the Rudy Gay trade.
So, not only is special treatment given to his “guys” when he gets them, but he is also targeting the wrong type of players as his ‘guys”, and giving up valuable assets in order to bring them in.
Now, there have been reports that Bargnani is still going to be traded at some point this season. However, given Bargnani’s very little trade value, and the fact that the goal seems to be to win now at all costs, it worries me about the type of player that may come back in return.
What’s even worse than that is my fear that Colangelo may throw another promising young player away in order to do it. I get a sense that Terrence Ross may be the bait to pull off another short-sighted move, with no long-term gain. He was considered “untouchable” in the Memphis deal, but perhaps it’s because he’s part of a deal Colangelo claims is on the table when Andrea returns.
Similarly, consider the names of Steve Nash, Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields, Rudy Gay. They are all recent moves which have happened, or in the case of Nash, almost happened because of the win-now mentality.
Don’t get me wrong, I think adding all of these guys are a good move if, and only if the goal is to win now. But, the problem is that the goal shouldn’t be to win now. The goal should be to do what it takes to build a contender, not a treadmill playoff team which the Raptors are shaping up to be.
In addition, Colangelo has had a history of making not only short-sighted decisions, but very bad short-sighted decisions at that. There have been more than a handful of bad moves in the past.
Evidence of this is seen in his free agent signings as well as trades ranging from Jason Kapono, Jermaine O’Neal, Hedo Turkoglu, Linas Kleiza, etc.
Also, who can forget losing Chris Bosh as a free agent for basically nothing but a trade exception and late first round pick from Miami. As well as the contract extensions he’s given out to, once again, his “guys” Andrea Bargnani, and DeMar DeRozan.
Now, I could go into detail over Colangelo’s resume of bad basketball moves. But, I think you are all more than aware of them. So, I won’t bother with that.
Furthermore, the Raptors now risk losing out on a key piece in the next couple of drafts which could have done wonders for the organization. A little patience would have gone a long way into potentially securing something meaningful in Toronto.
That would be with a couple more high draft picks, particularly in the 2014 draft when it is believed that not only the top pick Wiggins, but also several top picks like Parker and Harrison are believed to be true franchise players. Which is exactly what the Raptors need moving forward.
Now, before anyone argues that you need to be extremely lucky to land a high pick in the draft, let alone a top pick, you have to understand that if you don’t try, you have no chance.
When it comes to winning, a small chance is always better than no chance. Sometimes, especially in business, you need to take that chance in order to come out on top. Otherwise, you’re stuck in the middle and go nowhere.
Colangelo went ahead, hedged all his bets, and decided to go all in for a future with no return. In this case, it isn’t the same as taking a risk to win the draft lottery. It’s essentially like going all-in on a stone cold bluff in a game of poker, and hoping that no one calls you on it.
So, while it’s not the entirely same concept used in Shipping Wars, it’s basically the same idea.
In this case, Bryan Colangelo is cashing out early on a nickel, instead of saving his investment to get what could have been a dollar.