A letter fromThe Raptors GM

Now that the trade deadline has passed, I think it is important for all of you to understand the thinking behind the whole trade process and where we are as a team.

First of all, I want to note that the term “trade deadline” is misleading. The 24th of February deadline means that we can not make a trade until we are done with the season. It doesn’t mean that we have to stop working on trades. A lot of the work that we did over the last several months has helped prepare us for possible trades during the off-season. We are continually working on ways to improve the team.

There are several basic trade rules that all fans should know. Few people take the time to learn these rules. Fewer still choose to take these rules into account when they’re writing or talking about potential trades. Basically, these rules are:

The total salaries involved in a trade must be within 15% plus $100,000.00 of each other. Example: Team A trades a $10 million player to Team B. Team A can bring back up to $11.6 million in salaries. Therefore, you can not just trade a $5 million player for a draft pick.

Under the current CBA, there is a luxury tax line that we estimate will be a little more than $60 million.

Currently, if a tax is in effect and you go over the line as a club, you end up suffering anywhere from a 100% to 300% penalty (depending on how far over the line you are).

The vast majority of teams in the NBA are concerned about staying under the luxury tax line.

There are many other items such as trade kickers and base-year compensation that can complicate the ability to make a trade.

The following links do a good job of summarizing CBA rules: http://www.nba.com/news/cap_040713.html http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.html

With the above in mind, you have to get two teams to agree that the trade is equal. This is not an easy accomplishment. When you consider a trade, you have to factor in the age of the players, the length of their contracts, the position they play, their health and character, how they would fit in with your current roster, is their pay equal to their ability and how does it compare with the rest of the players on your team.

We are concerned with all of these and especially concerned with three other items:

1) Does the player fit into the long-term plans of building a championship team?

2) How does the player affect the development of our core group of young players?

3) Does his contract hurt or help our ability to develop our team for the future?

Some people have criticized us for not making a trade. We have consistently stated that we will not make a trade unless it is a good trade for the future of this team. We were very close to making two trades last week, but in each case there was one item that could not be resolved. We will not make a trade just to make a trade.

Speaking of trades, there is still and will always be critics of the Vince Carter trade. It is certainly true that neither Aaron or Eric Williams have been major contributors lately. Eric started very well when he first came to us, but he had a shooting slump and is now playing behind Jalen Rose (who is playing so well that there are few back-ups minutes at that position). Aaron is playing behind Rafael and Donyell Marshall. Donyell is playing very well and Rafael is developing and needs minutes to do so. I still believe that they are both valuable players and will help our basketball team in the future. The financial flexibility this deals gives us is huge, but won’t be fully realized until after the 2006-2007 season.

The two first-round picks are unknowns, but they should fall somewhere in the middle of the first round and they will be valuable as future roster players or assets to help make a trade. We won’t know their value for years to come. Right now, we do know one thing – we were 8-16 with Vince, and are 16-17 without Vince. The other thing that is important to remember is that though Vince is a very talented player, he wasn’t doing it for us and his trade value was only diminishing.

Rafael is another topic of much discussion. Rafael is working very hard and has shown to us what his potential is to play in this league. He is still a year or two away, but we have great confidence that he will produce in this league. Keep in mind that centres take longer to adapt to the NBA. Take note of the following rookie statistics for recent starting centres: Jamaal Magloire (4.6 pts, 4.0 reb, 15 min), Samuel Dalembert (1.5 pts, 2 reb, 5 min), Eddy Curry (6.0 pts, 3.8 reb, 16 min), Nazr Mohammed (1.6 pts, 1.4 reb, 5 min). Rafael is at 3.2 pts, 3.5 reb in 12 minutes.

We need to have patience with Rafael. He has the talent, he has the work ethic and he has a great team attitude. A lot of what he is already accomplishing on the court are things that go unnoticed to the average fan. He sets great picks, he makes great passes, he is one of our best help defenders, and he keeps players from driving to the basket. Centres develop more slowly than other players and are difficult to find. We need to be patient with Rafael.

There is a lot to be excited about with our team. Rafer Alston has made great personal strides and is playing very good basketball. Mo Peterson has proven to be a good defender and a productive scorer. Jalen Rose was just named “Eastern Conference Player of the Week” and is playing great basketball for us. Chris Bosh is a rising star who has the work ethic, talent and character to be an all-star. Donyell Marshall continues to give us solid back-up minutes and has won many games for us. Rafael Araujo is developing and making steady progress. Matt Bonner is another rookie who has shown that he is a keeper. Milt Palacio has been playing steady basketball.

We have veterans in Lamond Murray, Eric Williams and Aaron Williams that are capable of big minutes at any time. Loren Woods showed a lot of promise early in the season and is working hard to improve. Pape Sow has yet to get significant minutes, but his potential and character are worth serious future consideration. Our coaches are learning about our players and developing our philosophy both on and off the court.

We still have at least seven weeks of basketball left and we’re working hard to make the playoffs. The coaches have been improving our defense and it is beginning to show on the court. If we become more consistent at the defensive end, we have a legitimate chance.

We will continue to work hard to develop this team and win every game that we can. We can not veer from our main goal and that is to develop a team that plays hard, plays team ball, helps each other both on and off the court, gets involved in the community and does things the right way. We are making real progress towards this goal, but we still have a lot of work left. We are committed to doing things the right way.

I thank you for your continued support of the Raptors. You have helped make my first year in Toronto enjoyable and rewarding. With your support, we will be able to continue to pursue our goal of building a team capable of contending for a championship.

I hope to see you at our games this year,

Rob Bab*****

General Manager

Toronto Raptors

A To letter from Rob Bab*****

Well Rob I’m glad to know that your happy you pissed away the 8th and used it on a guy who sets good picks and makes good passes but why not just get Big country to come out of retirement? Face it you did a bad job with your fist pick as the GM and better do a good job at the up coming draft. The Raps pick will be good again this year, I don’t care what you say the team won’t make the playoffs. And I’m also glad that you see having gap room is a good thing. But just who do you think will sign with Toronto? Vince was the only player of that caliber who ever stayed with the team, remember T-Mac? You will need that cap room to get Bosh locked up long term. And letting Marshall walk was another good move. Don’t give us that carp that even if he does leave the money will be used to replace him because it won’t. You won’t be able to get another Marshall for 5 million. And as for the 3 vets you talked about 1 is worst then the other. They are a waste of money and only taking up a roster spot. You better hope Rafer gets his act together and you better get your act together or you will be out of work. Rob your first season as the GM was forgettable and we better not see another like it.

JaYs (BTR Admin)

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