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Northern Neighbour

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Talk mumble jumble about the Raptors' off-season.
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bob1

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It was a great season. Yes it was disappointing to get swept by Cleveland. Reality is that Lebron is arguably the best basketball player ever. He is much better than any player on the Raptors and that caused matchup problems. Its a young team, I think they keep plugging away with this team and keep most of their players, although a three point shooter might be good to add. The players played better than their talent level. If you look at their regular season record, they had a better record than Golden State. There is no way they are remotely close to Golden State in Talent level. Anyways, i say bring back Dwane Casey and most of their core players and try and improve for next year. For those who say blow up the team, its not as easy to do as it is in NHL unless you get a generational player. Its much better to be a good team, maybe not great but at least we make the playoffs. 
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elT

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I think it is time to move on from both Casey and Lowry.

DDR has a huge workload on him already, being a buffer between those two on top of it is too much.  That alone is a full time job.

Gotta move on from Casey, all signs are there. He did a great job until this series here but it is time now, time to move on. Thanks coach! Love you still!

I don't trust Lowry to buy in once new coach arrives. I don't think he bought in this year. He got to 95% and game 1, him killing pace in 2nd half, that is that 5%. It had to be his way. It often does. Other times he becomes way too passive and doesn't bring the team together. Like in game 4 when DDR needed somebody to check him and re-connect him with the team again, Lowry just decided to let it be.

Happy to see JV become a basketball player this year. I'm worried if modern NBA is going to make guys like him unplayable in certain situations. Like with Kevin Love. But JV is a keeper. He showed a lot of good this year and his contract is no longer bad as he definitely earned another season at least and after that is an expiring deal anyway.
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Northern Neighbour

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It's going to be tough to deal Lowry given his age and contract. Ibaka, though, needs to be traded. JV clearly has passed him, and Siakim should some time next year. The Raps will have to take back a similar bad contract(s), but it might be worth it. For instance, might need to take Faried and Chandler for Ibaka. Faried is useless and Chandler is inconsistent, but at least the latter can play a bit. They're both expiring deals (I don't think either will opt out as this year's marketplace will likely be very soft for players like Faried and Chandler).

Sacramento could be a dumping ground, but do you attach a future first-round pick to get rid of Ibaka? Maybe attach a young player (e.g., Wright)? Granted, Powell to Sacramento for a future 2nd-round pick actually makes more sense for the Kings.

A team that actually could use Ibaka is Milwaukee. Ibaka's ability to shoot the 3 and play passable defence would work in Milwaukee. The issue is that the Bucks don't have a lot to offer in terms of players/salary unless the Raps would be content on taking back two of Mirza Teletovic, Tony Snell, or John Henson back. Not exactly exciting options given the injury issues with Teletovic and Henson and Snell having 3 more years left on his contract.

There are, of course, bad contract-for-bad contract options out there, such as:
- Danilo Gallinari. Both have comparable contracts and LAC may need a big if Jordan opts out (which I think he'll do);
- Nicolas Batum. Has a worse contract than Ibaka but might be adequate as either the starting SF or leading the 2nd unit in Toronto. Charlotte does need an agile big man, but I assume they value Batum more than Ibaka. I personally don't think highly of either, but Batum would be fine playing 3rd or 4th fiddle in Toronto. A lineup of Lowry, DeRozan, Batum, OG, and Valanciunas would be pretty solid.
- Carmelo Anthony. This isn't happening.
- Chandler Parsons, but I doubt Masai even considers the oft-injured egomaniac.
- Ryan Anderson. Depends on Houston does, but this could make sense as Ibaka provides insurance behind Capela.

Another idea is to do a deal with Orlando, although it would be weird on so many levels. A deal that could work is Ibaka and Powell for Biyombo and Fournier. I'm not sold on it since BB is even more obsolete in today's NBA, and Fournier's contract is a bit rich for my liking.
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MikeToronto

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Once again, the ownership and Masai need to clearly identify their goals. If they are serious about contending, this core has proven beyond any shadow of a doubt to be utterly incapable of doing that, and therefore must be broken and sold for picks and youth. If they are content to let them play out two more seasons, finishing top 4-5 in the conference and exiting the playoffs by the second round, then they don’t need to change squat, including the coaching staff. I just wish they’d honestly come out with what they want to achieve and behave accordingly.
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elT

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Neighbour
It's going to be tough to deal Lowry given his age and contract. Ibaka, though, needs to be traded. JV clearly has passed him, and Siakim should some time next year. The Raps will have to take back a similar bad contract(s), but it might be worth it. For instance, might need to take Faried and Chandler for Ibaka. Faried is useless and Chandler is inconsistent, but at least the latter can play a bit. They're both expiring deals (I don't think either will opt out as this year's marketplace will likely be very soft for players like Faried and Chandler).

Sacramento could be a dumping ground, but do you attach a future first-round pick to get rid of Ibaka? Maybe attach a young player (e.g., Wright)? Granted, Powell to Sacramento for a future 2nd-round pick actually makes more sense for the Kings.

A team that actually could use Ibaka is Milwaukee. Ibaka's ability to shoot the 3 and play passable defence would work in Milwaukee. The issue is that the Bucks don't have a lot to offer in terms of players/salary unless the Raps would be content on taking back two of Mirza Teletovic, Tony Snell, or John Henson back. Not exactly exciting options given the injury issues with Teletovic and Henson and Snell having 3 more years left on his contract.

There are, of course, bad contract-for-bad contract options out there, such as:
- Danilo Gallinari. Both have comparable contracts and LAC may need a big if Jordan opts out (which I think he'll do);
- Nicolas Batum. Has a worse contract than Ibaka but might be adequate as either the starting SF or leading the 2nd unit in Toronto. Charlotte does need an agile big man, but I assume they value Batum more than Ibaka. I personally don't think highly of either, but Batum would be fine playing 3rd or 4th fiddle in Toronto. A lineup of Lowry, DeRozan, Batum, OG, and Valanciunas would be pretty solid.
- Carmelo Anthony. This isn't happening.
- Chandler Parsons, but I doubt Masai even considers the oft-injured egomaniac.
- Ryan Anderson. Depends on Houston does, but this could make sense as Ibaka provides insurance behind Capela.

Another idea is to do a deal with Orlando, although it would be weird on so many levels. A deal that could work is Ibaka and Powell for Biyombo and Fournier. I'm not sold on it since BB is even more obsolete in today's NBA, and Fournier's contract is a bit rich for my liking.


Before I say anything..NO TO BATUM. IF you think Ibaka has declined, Batum has fallen off the cliff into black hole and is the worst contract in the NBA, he has ANOTHER THREE YEARS AT 27M$. Hell no. We'd be losing our kids in his last year of contract to avoid luxuy tax.

Guard and guard play is the key in today's NBA. Lowry is still really good. He can still help a team win a ton of games. A team like Denver could use him. Bucks would love him.

But the key is not the value we get back but value we save. Imagine parting ways with Casey and having issues with new coach because of Lowry? Or keeping Casey and status quo and risking he truly and irreparably loses the team like he did just few hours ago?

Frankly, I'd look for a team that takes Lowry an has capacity for him to succeed and be happy.

As for Ibaka, I'd be opportunistic. I don't perceive him as a problem. Under-performer yes but I'd give him another year.

And I love Lowry but I'm just worried about his impact on chemistry and cohesion. He has been great but there was another level and it became clear against Cavs, game 1, 4th quarter and OT.
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Northern Neighbour

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Quote:
Originally Posted by elT


Before I say anything..NO TO BATUM. IF you think Ibaka has declined, Batum has fallen off the cliff into black hole and is the worst contract in the NBA, he has ANOTHER THREE YEARS AT 27M$. Hell no. We'd be losing our kids in his last year of contract to avoid luxuy tax.

Guard and guard play is the key in today's NBA. Lowry is still really good. He can still help a team win a ton of games. A team like Denver could use him. Bucks would love him.

But the key is not the value we get back but value we save. Imagine parting ways with Casey and having issues with new coach because of Lowry? Or keeping Casey and status quo and risking he truly and irreparably loses the team like he did just few hours ago?

Frankly, I'd look for a team that takes Lowry an has capacity for him to succeed and be happy.

As for Ibaka, I'd be opportunistic. I don't perceive him as a problem. Under-performer yes but I'd give him another year.

And I love Lowry but I'm just worried about his impact on chemistry and cohesion. He has been great but there was another level and it became clear against Cavs, game 1, 4th quarter and OT.


I think Ibaka is a chemistry issue, too. Maybe not in the locker room, but his play on the court. He's suppose to be a plug-and-play complementary piece, but he doesn't fit. He's easier to deal since his contract is lower and is younger. Won't get much for him, but there likely would be more interest in him than Lowry. The market for a 32-year old PG is awfully low, especially with so many teams set at the position.
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elT

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Neighbour


I think Ibaka is a chemistry issue, too. Maybe not in the locker room, but his play on the court. He's suppose to be a plug-and-play complementary piece, but he doesn't fit. He's easier to deal since his contract is lower and is younger. Won't get much for him, but there likely would be more interest in him than Lowry. The market for a 32-year old PG is awfully low, especially with so many teams set at the position.


Yeah but PG is probably the most important position in the NBA at the moment so teams that don't have one but want to compete can be quite attracted to getting Lowry.

And let me clarify that I'm not suddenly anti Lowry or anti Casey. Keeping both still looks more likely than anything. And I wouldn't hate that deicision.
But there's something off. It isn't like previous years. It was all very different. Even the presser afterwards, Casey sounded like a guy that was ready for whatever, Lowry completely shutdown and couldn't handle the presser.
Maybe(probably) I'm overreacting but it smells funny after that loss.


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elT

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Toronto Raptors 2018 NBA offseason preview - Draft, trades and free agency


by Bobby Marks on 2018-05-13 14:14:00 UTC (original: http://www.espn.com/nba/insider/story/_/id/23435999/toronto-raptors-2018-nba-offseason-preview-draft-trades-free-agency)

Back to square one.

A franchise-record 59 wins has now been met with the disappointment of another early exit in the playoffs for the Toronto Raptors.

Do they need to make big changes to their core, and what would that look like?

Let's look ahead to the free-agency, draft and trade decisions facing Toronto this offseason.

More summer focus: Click here for every team so far


At a crossroads with the roster once again

There were two directions the Raptors could have gone last offseason after being swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round. The rebuilding plan: Let Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka leave as free agents, put DeMar DeRozan on the trade block and build the roster with their former first-round picks. Essentially, this season's bench mob would have been the face of Toronto for years to come.

Instead, they chose to sign Lowry and Ibaka to three-year contracts, keep the roster mostly intact, revamp their style of play on the offensive end and continue to develop their young bench players. The result was an eight-win improvement, the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed and Toronto finding its small forward of the future in first-round pick OG Anunoby.

Despite the continuity of the roster and big money committed to Lowry and Ibaka, Toronto is faced with the same results in the postseason -- swept by Cleveland in the second round.

After bypassing the opening to tear down the roster last July, the Raptors are now met with $100 million committed to Lowry, Ibaka, DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas through 2019-20. President Masai Ujiri and the front office are now left with four complicated options.

Bring back the same crew

Was the Cleveland series more about the superhuman performance of LeBron James -- including two games decided by a total of three points -- or a Toronto team that is built for the regular season but not postseason? That is the first question the front office needs to evaluate.

If James alone is the primary obstacle, Toronto should bring back the roster that includes 11 guaranteed contracts, sign restricted free agent Fred VanVleet and use the bitter taste of the second-round loss as a learning tool (sound familiar?).

Despite the past postseason failures, the window for this team is still open, with depth at each position under contract for the foreseeable future. However, there's a cost to continuity.

Already at $126.5 million in guaranteed contracts ($3.5 million over the tax), Toronto will be a luxury tax team for only the third time (2002-03 and 03-04) in franchise history once VanVleet is signed, barring a trade.

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After getting the green light from ownership a year ago to keep the core together, can Ujiri do it again but at a higher cost? There is no guarantee that this $170 million roster won't end up in the same place.

Shed salary to offset VanVleet

If there is an odd man out on the roster it would be Norman Powell.

Signed to a four-year, $42 million extension last September, Powell has been a bystander during the playoffs after going through an inconsistent third season despite appearing in 70 regular-season games.

With Anunoby entrenched at small forward, C.J. Miles coming off the bench and the combination of Delon Wright and VanVleet in the backcourt, Powell has turned into an expensive end-of-the bench player -- an unlikely scenario after the former second-round pick started half of the Raptors' playoff games in 2016-17.

If there is mandate to slash salary to offset a new VanVleet deal Toronto will have to identify teams with cap space that would have targeted Powell had he been a free agent this summer. Finding a new home for Powell without taking back salary would save the Raptors $20 million in taxes this season and give the team future flexibility when Delon Wright is a restricted free agent in 2019.

Start over at head coach

With high expectations also comes the reality that head coach Dwane Casey will likely be evaluated during the offseason.

Despite a franchise-record 59 victories, including three straight 50-win seasons, Casey has not been able to lead the Raptors to the NBA Finals and that will be at the crux of the decision regarding his future.

The olive branch extended last year for Casey to modernize the offense likely will not be there this offseason.

Unfair as it sounds for a coach with 166 wins since 2015-16 to have his job in jeopardy, the reality is that the NBA is a win-oriented business -- especially in the postseason. The questions for management now: Does the team need a new voice, and is there's an upgrade internally or externally? If so, the No. 1 seed in the East could be looking for a new coach.

Breaking up the core four

Toronto will be faced with challenges if it starts entertaining offers for Lowry, DeRozan, Valanciunas and Ibaka.

Despite back-to-back All-Star appearances, the 32-year-old Lowry is owed $60 million over the next two seasons and his contract would be too rich alone for a team to take back in a salary dump. Besides, Toronto would likely have to attach one of its bench players as an enticement.

A team such as Charlotte that risks losing Kemba Walker in 2019 would be hesitant to take back Lowry's bloated salary, even with the additional security of another season under contract.

Ibaka has $40 million left on his deal and is now trending toward the category held by the Rockets' Ryan Anderson -- under a salary that seemed manageable at the time because of past production but now looks untradable.

Despite being only 25 years old and a consistent presence at center, Valanciunas still has $34 million left on his contract. The market for a center with annual cap hits of $16.5 million and $17.6 million is remote, and Valanciunas would also require a sweetener in any deal.

That leads us to DeRozan. There are always teams in the offseason that either think they are one player away from competing for a championship or are faced with pressure to end a playoff drought (think Phoenix and Sacramento). DeRozan could make sense for such a deal. However, despite a lackluster second round, DeRozan should be off the table for Toronto unless a trade involves a good young player or lottery pick.


The restricted free agent: Fred VanVleet

The undrafted guard, one of the leading candidates for most improved and a staple of the Toronto bench, is now eligible for a new deal after signing a two-year, $2.1 million non-guaranteed contract in 2016. The Raptors were not permitted to sign VanVleet for more than two seasons because they used the non-tax midlevel to sign Jared Sullinger.

Because VanVleet has early Bird rights, Toronto can offer a contract up to $8.7 million (105 percent of the average player salary).

Things could get interesting if a team with cap space tries to backload a contract in years three and four. Though the Raptors have the ability to match such a deal, it would come at a significant financial cost.

Back-loaded VanVleet offer sheet

YearSalary
2018-19$8.6 million (nontax midlevel)
2019-20$8.9 million
2020-21$11.2 million
2021-22$11.3 million
Total$40 million
Average$10 million (cap space available)

They would not be permitted to average out VanVleet's contract to $10 million because they are over the salary cap. But by letting VanVleet go the Raptors would have only the minimum available to replace him.

One thing that VanVleet will need to avoid is signing a two-year contract in Toronto with a player option in 2019-20. The guard would be a restricted free agent once again in 2019 if he declined his option and the Raptors would have the ability to match another deal.


Summer cap breakdown

2018-19 salary breakdown

Player2018-19
1. Kyle Lowry$31,200,000
2. DeMar DeRozan$27,739,975
3. Serge Ibaka$21,666,667
4. Jonas Valanciunas$16,539,326
5. Norman Powell$9,367,200
6. C.J. Miles$8,333,333
7. Jakob Poeltl$2,947,320
8. Delon Wright$2,536,898
9. OG Anunoby$2,034,120
10. Malachi Richardson$1,569,360
11. Pascal Siakam$1,544,951
12. Alfonzo McKinnie(non-guaranteed) $1,378,242
13. Lucas Nogueira 1(free-agent hold) $8,841,915
14. Fred VanVleet 2(free-agent hold) $1,699,698
15. Lorenzo Brown 3(free-agent hold) $1,499,698
Justin Hamilton(waiver) $1,000,000
Total$138.4 million
Salary cap$101.0 million (projected)
1. Restricted Bird rights 
2. Restricted early Bird rights 
3. Non-Bird rights 

Assuming that VanVleet comes back at a salary of $8.6 million and the remaining roster spots are filled with minimum contracts, Toronto will have a luxury tax bill of $30 million.

Though the $5.2 million taxpayer midlevel exception is available, using the full amount would cost an additional $16 million in tax penalties.


Dates to watch

VanVleet will receive a $1.7 million qualifying offer by June 30 that will put the restricted tag on the guard.

Toronto has until July 20 to guarantee the $1.4 million contract of Alfonzo McKinnie. Waiving McKinnie would not save the Raptors from the tax since his spot would need to be replaced. The forward spent most of the season in the G League and guaranteeing his contract would leave Toronto with three spots available.


Extension eligible candidates

One player impacted by the Raptors' strong player development has been former first-round pick Delon Wright. The point guard has evolved from an emergency option to part of the rotation this season. Now entering the last year of his rookie contract, Wright is extension eligible up until Oct. 15.

While the 26-year-old merits extension talks, don't be surprised if Toronto holds off until 2019 when he becomes a restricted free agent. Waiting another year would allow Toronto to get its finances in order.

The Raptors' payroll in 2019-20 projects to be $131 million, right at the luxury tax without factoring in VanVleet.

Center Jonas Valanciunas is also eligible.


The draft assets

The cost of falling under the luxury tax last offseason now has Toronto heading into the draft without a first-rounder. Trading the 29th pick to Brooklyn saved the Raptors a projected $55 million by shedding the annual $14.8 million and $15.4 million salary of DeMarre Carroll.

In addition, the Raptors' 2018 second was traded to Phoenix as part of the PJ Tucker 2017 trade deadline acquisition.

Toronto owns all of its future first-round picks and is eligible to trade its 2019 first-rounder the night of the draft.


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LKeet6

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hard, even for the ever optimists not to entertain letting lowry, ibaka or Casey (ot all 3 go...)

Lowry and Casey would be tough, both raps legends, essentially.

I don't think our playoff performance was bad. We handled a very tricky 8th seed well, and could/should have won 2 games. James was excellent in two, and otherworldly in two. Cavs changed from first round, whistle changed (massively in my opinion) from first round. Some may see these as "excuses," I'm just using them as "perspective." I'm very down and struggling to not be negative about being swept, but I don't think our playoffs was "pathetic" or any exaggerations like that. We failed again, but it was still an improvement, in my opinion...

If we can shift ibaka and lowry without taking much of a hit, that could be positive. We could give norm another go then, he'd be back in the rotation and have a proper crack at it again.

It'd be a fascinating watching a team with a fresh start coaching wise, low expectations, and more of the internal improvement, with the bench mob increasing their roles...
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LeBronIsYourDaddy

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Neighbour


 younger. .



 its not just fans who think that isnt the case. GMs arent dumb. Even if you believe he is 28 he has been in severe decline at best. If he isnt 28...... things gonna get uglier, fast.
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DocHolliday

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LKeet6
Hard, even for the ever optimists not to entertain letting lowry, ibaka or Casey (ot all 3 go...) Lowry and Casey would be tough, both raps legends, essentially. I don't think our playoff performance was bad. We handled a very tricky 8th seed well, and could/should have won 2 games. James was excellent in two, and otherworldly in two. Cavs changed from first round, whistle changed (massively in my opinion) from first round. Some may see these as "excuses," I'm just using them as "perspective." I'm very down and struggling to not be negative about being swept, but I don't think our playoffs was "pathetic" or any exaggerations like that. We failed again, but it was still an improvement, in my opinion... If we can shift ibaka and lowry without taking much of a hit, that could be positive. We could give norm another go then, he'd be back in the rotation and have a proper crack at it again. It'd be a fascinating watching a team with a fresh start coaching wise, low expectations, and more of the internal improvement, with the bench mob increasing their roles...


I agree that the team has improved.  This "fire" Casey chatter is a tough one for myself - though I do understand that side of the argument - but the reality I see is Casey's only real sin the last 3 years is his inability to beat a highly motivated LeBron in the playoffs.  That's been an issue for every coach in the Eastern conference since 2010.  It's tough, I'm sure this is how Knicks fans felt with Ewing, or Utah fans with Malone/Stockton or Bulls fans with MVP Rose, or clipper fans with CP3/Griffin, etc etc etc.

Also, this year we had a super motivated LeBron because Irving left and if LeBron doesn't make the Finals on his own, fans will easily point out that LeBron's success in Cleveland was tied to Irving.  This will cement his legacy in the East, even if he does leave the team.
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JeffB_STR82DVD

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@WolstatSun
Raptors locker cleanout availability begins at 11. Casey and Ujiri will go another day. Just players today.
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moremilk

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday


I agree that the team has improved.  This "fire" Casey chatter is a tough one for myself - though I do understand that side of the argument - but the reality I see is Casey's only real sin the last 3 years is his inability to beat a highly motivated LeBron in the playoffs.  That's been an issue for every coach in the Eastern conference since 2010.  It's tough, I'm sure this is how Knicks fans felt with Ewing, or Utah fans with Malone/Stockton or Bulls fans with MVP Rose, or clipper fans with CP3/Griffin, etc etc etc.

Also, this year we had a super motivated LeBron because Irving left and if LeBron doesn't make the Finals on his own, fans will easily point out that LeBron's success in Cleveland was tied to Irving.  This will cement his legacy in the East, even if he does leave the team.


It's not just losing though, it's also the manner of losing. Glaring mistakes have been made and minimal progress.

The main caveat is that we're really not as good as the regular season indicates. I've personally been blamed a lot for arguing this point, ever since the 49 wins season .

It's really tough to judge Casey for this reason, on one hand there are some clear playoff issues with his coaching, on the other he has a team that was, probably, never quite as good as the regular season indicated.
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DocHolliday

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Quote:
Originally Posted by moremilk
It's not just losing though, it's also the manner of losing. Glaring mistakes have been made and minimal progress. The main caveat is that we're really not as good as the regular season indicates. I've personally been blamed a lot for arguing this point, ever since the 49 wins season . It's really tough to judge Casey for this reason, on one hand there are some clear playoff issues with his coaching, on the other he has a team that was, probably, never quite as good as the regular season indicated.


It's honestly a really tough judgement for anyone I think - I mean, the Raps took care of the Wiz in 6 and has looked a lot better overall.  The problem this year is the same as the last 2 years - LeBron.  3 years of LeBron beating the Raps is infuriating but those feelings shouldn't be the catalyst for how to see the team's success/performance imo.  Raps are a solid and well coached team and no other coach in the East has solved LeBron yet.  

The Raps could use another wing and more time in this system.  This is the time to add a piece and tweak things than to start dismantling - give this transition and culture change a real opportunity to sink in - esp with the veterans.
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