That title probably should have read, "Is the Artist Formerly Known as Agent Zero an Option", but that was just way too long.
Now, I'm not saying they should, but...
The Raps have a full trade exception worth about $16 million from the Bosh disaster. Or the Colangelo disaster, depending on your view. The roster, as it currently stands, is, ummmmm, unimposing. Every road team in the league is looking forward to sampling the T.O. nightlife and then waking up and going through the motions for three quarters, and still coming out with the win.
That was harsh, I admit. But the Raptor defence is not. It is soft and toothless and inviting, like a celebrity rehab centre. Or Vesa Toskala.
And there is zero buzz surrounding this team (aside from their haircuts). Nobody in Toronto wants tickets. And why would they? This Raptors edition, even if it exceeds expectations, will still be awful. There are two tiers in the NBA's Eastern Conference. Tier one has nothing but good teams (Miami, Boston, Orlando, Chicago, Altanta, Milwaukee, Charlotte). Tier two (Toronto, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Cleveland, Indiana, Detroit) is a murderer's row of awfulness. Under no circumstance can any team from tier two possibly defeat a team from tier one in a seven game playoff series. Cannot happen.
Unless...one of them makes some sort of significant trade.
I'm not saying they should. Gilbert Arenas seems like a total moron. The gun charges last year were at best childish and at worst frightening. Faking an injury to sit out a pre-season game a few days ago was painfully ignorant for a guy in his position. And he makes a pile of money (3 more years and a total of $62 million left AFTER this year).
But he was very good. Arenas could still be a top 5 scorer who would absolutely fill a few needs for Toronto. Namely, putting points on the board and butts in the seats. Maybe a change of scenery is all he needs? Okay, maybe a change of scenery and copious amounts of counselling is all he needs?
And the Raptors could easily afford to roll the dice. The Bosh trade exception plus one other contract (Evans or Banks ) would very likely net them Arenas and potentially a first round draft pick. The Wizards are so desperate to get him away from John Wall that they'll be willing to bend over backwards to move him. Their first round pick next year will very likely be in the top five.
It's not like the Raptors are going to realistically compete this year or next anyway, so perhaps this would be the right time to take a chance on the ultimate reclamation project and net an excellent draft choice for their trouble?
I'm not saying they should. I'm just not at all excited to watch the jumper-fest that will be our 2010-11 season. At least with Arenas there would be a story, a reason to tune in. And if, or more likely when, it blew up in our faces, at least we'd have the top five draft pick to point to as a reason it was all worthwhile.