Last Call Before Ottawa

Trying to get myself together before I get on the Road for Ottawa. Reggie Evans tweeted at me that it is cold up there in Ottawa. I have some experience with that. I had friends who use to play for the Ravens when they had a football team. I remember going out to Ottawa and waiting for their practice to end and freezing my butt off. But I use to have a lot of fun in my times in the city. It is a great town. I was there the last time the Blue Jays won the World Series. That was a long time ago. Now making the journey back to see what I can find out about this new Raptors team.

There is lots of things I would like to do. Will see how much of them I can do. But it is going to be a good experience to actually look from the inside even if it is just for a day. I am really excited to see a number of guys. Reggie Evans, Demar DeRozan and Jarrett Jack at the top of that list. That is just 3 of 9 new faces that are on this roster. In all honest it will be like going to an amusement park and trying to go on all the rides. I would love to talk with everyone. However that is no doubt impossible in just 1 day. I'll do my best that is why I put up the poll so you guys can help guide me. Demar DeRozan is winning at the moment. I will give the poll a look before I head out the door so you can vote and have your say.

I have not been around NBA players in many years. It is an experience when you get a chance to meet an NBA player. The first think that blows you mind is how tall these guys are. I remember the first time I saw Vince Carter. Now I knew he was taller than me but it was really amazing to see it face to chest. I never have met Chris Bosh or Andrea Bargnani but I did meet Alonzo Mourning and him sitting on a chair was the same height as me.

Anyway I am pretty excited and I admit a bit nervous which is rare for me. Doing interviews on the phone 1 on 1 is a much different animal from doing them in scrums with other media folks around of bigger stature than me. However I look forward to it and hope I can get some good from this experience.

Anyway wish me luck and if I can figure out how to make my computer work from Ottawa that is where the next Dino Nation Blog will be written from in a hotel room in Ottawa. Not being the most tech savvy person on planet earth it might not. But let's hope I figure it out. One way or the other I will share my experience with you all be it sooner or later.

Talk with you Friday.....Hopefully.


The Biggest Question is Still The Same.

A new face and voice everywhere you cared to turn on Raptors Media Day. However the big question for the this franchise remains the same. Chris Bosh and his future are still at the top of the list. Bosh on the fan made a point to make it clear he likes Toronto and is happy here. Some in the U.S media have tried to paint a picture of Chris crossing off days on a calender till he is free of the city. That I think is a total misrepresentation of reality. Bosh like Carter before him wants to win. That is first on the list for him. Money a close second I would imagine. Bosh unlike V.C does see that he needs to play a part in that winning. When the topic of the idea of an extension came up Bosh did not flat out say no. Which is progress because in July he had pretty much when asked. What he said is it would have to make more sense then the original plan he had when he signed his current contract. If that does not happen the elephant in the room all year will be Bosh's upcoming free agency and if the Raptors are part of that mix.

What seems pretty clear is Bosh is happy with all that Bryan has done in rebuilding this team. It is also clear that Bosh plans on having a huge year. He was put in a ton of work for this season looking to cash in. I still think that deep down Bosh would like to have success here as opposed to elsewhere. I think Bosh takes a lot of pride in the fact that he is "the Franchise" player in Toronto. People who have covered the team for years were commenting that Bosh looks bigger. He says himself that he has added 15 to 20 pounds and it is all muscle according to media folks. That is a change from a few years ago when Bosh had seemed to be resigned to the fact he could not get bigger. A change in training and promise of a max contract can be motivating to say the least.

The hamstring injury that Bosh suffered back in Texas doing wind sprints is said to be minor. However as it has always been both Bosh and the Raptors are being very careful about making sure he is 100% before he hits the floor. It is not ideal that he misses this time. The Raptors need to gel together rather quickly as the schedule that they will see early on is challenging to say the least. However if everything sticks to the schedule we have been told Bosh should be ready to roll in a week or two and in the time he is not on the floor it allows Jay Triano to get to know some of the toys he has on his roster. Amir Johnson is likely the guy that gets the most out of this in terms of extra floor time.

Raptors are already have on practice in the books up in Ottawa and Matt Devlin Twittered that defense was the major focus. I think everyone feels pretty confident this team can score the basketball. Jay Triano's task will be to improve it defensively and get this team to battle on the boards. These are things that have been lacking in Toronto not just last year but for many years. Not since the K.O era has this team played defense to a high level. The problem was they did it at a cost to having any offense at all. The personal on paper seem like a group that can answer the challenge defensively and that will be a major key. Bosh himself showed he can be a solid defender in playing for team U.S.A last summer.

Raps will be bringing in a guy on a one day contract with a possible extension to a two day contract. He use to be a high school football player and has size but he is only 6 feet tall. However he likely will not be playing anyway so it really doesn't matter.

The Dino Nation Blog is GOING TO TRAINING CAMP. I am that 6ft ex-football player and will be heading up for training camp on Friday for both sessions. Not sure if I will be around for the scrimmage on Saturday will see. I thank the Raptors for the opportunity. As you may have figured they do not just let anyone come to cover the team. So I see it as a privilege and one I hope to take it advantage of. Hopefully this can be a start of working with the Raptors more. But like everything with the Dino Nation Blog we will take it a step at a time and enjoy the journey. So if the blog is a bit screwed up this week that is the reason why. I have a lot of personal things to take care of in order to make this trip possible. But also a thanks to all of you that read the Dino Nation Blog...I work hard to do more for all of the great folks that read this thing as much as I do for myself.


Happy Media Day Dino Nation

The long summer officially ends today. It is Raptors media day and training camp is in Ottawa after that. The journey that is the 09-10 Raptors season has started. I will be trying to pay attention to all that goes on and you can check in here for updates through out the day. I am not at Media Day...maybe next year. However I know a few folks that will be. In fact if all goes well will have a guest later today. I have an exciting announcement though that I will make later in the week. Aside from all the picture taking and questions on how was your summer I'll try to give you the best of what I hear or notice. The Raptors are having a live blog from the event and I would suspect the Fan 590 and Raps T.V should have some form of coverage.

It is like the first day of school and there are lots of new kids in this class for the Raptors. I would place the over under on questions about Bosh's Hamstring at 137. Bet on the over. Questions about Hedo's health as well no doubt. Lot's of how do you like Toronto questions for all of the new guys. It can be a lot of the same old stuff. However with so many new faces at least you have a number of folks giving different answers. But the real point is this day marks the start of basketball being back and that alone is reason to get excited.

So check back with Dino Nation Blog for updates right here throughout the day. Also hoping to have a guest at some point after all the fun at the A.C.C is do


The first update of many today I would imagine. Raptors have a Live Chat going on Cover It Live which should be familiar to you folks. It is scheduled to start @ 12:30 and here is the link to it. The Game Plan will be broadcasting live from Media Day at the ACC on the Fan 590 starting at 2pm with Eric and Jack. Also Matt Devlin is now on Twitter (@RaptorsDevlin) and says Raptors T.V will have a wrap up of the day at 6pm. So those are some of the things you can check out if you want to be a part of Media Day.

Fan 590 broadcating on the Net from 1-2 pm from Media Day

Info over load as all of this goes on trying to tweet info for folks @dinonationlog so check that out and feel free to use DNB Chat over on the right.

Well that is about it for Media Day looks like, my head hurts from all of that info. May have a guest later on today and will chat about it all. If not I will do a summary of it all tonight or tomorrow. Also will let you know some exciting news shortly.


Long Wait Almost Over

Can you believe it, the long summer is almost over. Next week media day and a brand new season has begun. After that there will be training camp and pre-season and we are just a month and 2 days from the start of regular season. It all goes by pretty quick. So what isn't new about the Raptors? Chris Bosh is 15 pounds heavier we are told. He has been working extremely hard this off season. Early reports on Andrea Bargnani are good. Jay Triano was on The Fan 590 the other day and mentioned both of these items. He said of Bargnani that he has continued to make progress in his development of a post game. Jay also referenced about getting Jose to push the ball more. These are all positives.

That concludes you re-cap of the players that were here last season at this time. Everyone else is new and that will be the story through the entire pre-season. The 9 new faces this off-season and how they all fit together with this team's core. The one player you will likely not see a ton of is Hedo Turkoglu. He just came off playing in Eurobasket and did have a slight injury there. But that is not expected to be an issue. What will be is the fact that in the last calender year Hedo has probably played the most basketball of his professional career. Much like in football we never saw much of T.O in the pre-season the same might be said for Hedo. However the Raptors know what they have in him and ideally you would like to see him play a lot but it is more important that he is ready for when it matters. Add Chris Bosh to that list as well as Doug Smith reports that CB4 has tweaked his hamstring.

The Raptors enter this camp with 4 of 5 starting spots pretty much locked in stone. Calderon, Bosh, Bargnani and Turkoglu should all be hearing their names called at the opener on October 28th. The one spot in the air is who will be the starting shooting guard. But even that seems to be decided as long as Demar DeRozan looks ready. Triano suggested that it makes sense for DeRozan to be a starter. He compared Marco Belinelli to a guy like Eddie House for the Celtics. Someone that can play with the second unit and score points. Ben Gordon played a roll like that with the Bulls for a number of years and actually won a 6th man of the year award. Bryan Colangelo said at his best Belinelli should be a contender for that award this year.

Jarrett Jack will be the back up for Jose and you can also expect to see the 2 on the floor together. Triano suggested using some aspects on the Princeton Offense. That is the main system that Eddie Jordan will use in Philly. Jordan only wishes he had point guards to level of Calderon and Jack to run it.

For everyone else...D is the key. Reggie Evans will lead that charge of defense and rebounding. Helped by Rasho Nesterovic, Amir Johnson and Antoine Wright and anyone else that cares to join the party. So it should be fun to watch and see how it all comes together.

Lots of time to talk about it so we will leave it there for today. After all it's Friday and the weekend. As always you can catch me on CJLO on Off The Bench at 12:15am listen on CJLO.com.


10 Keys To Victory

Everyone seems to be of the belief that the Raptors will be better. The only question is how much better will they be? Well here are 10 things to look for early on that should give you a good indication. If all of these things happen the Raptors should be on the path to perhaps a home playoff berth. If a majority of them do they will be a playoff team. So let's get the list going. They will be in no order of importance.

1. Chris Bosh is putting up career type numbers. After all it is his contract year unless we all get shocked by a contract extension before the season. The key numbers to watch will be rebounds and assists. If those numbers are on the rise things should be going well. Points wise if he can average 20-25 points as he has done in the past that should be good enough. Also if we see a rise in blocks and steals along with an overall better defender that will mean more than adding a point or 2 to his scoring average.

2. A new and improved Jose Calderon. What does that mean? It means a better effort on defense. No one is every going to convince me Jose will ever be a great defender but if he could just be average or a bit better i'd be happy. On the offensive side it will be the challenge of Jay Triano to convince his point guard to take more risks and push the basketball. Triano did a great job in helping develop Steve Nash. If he could make Calderon a little more Nash like on offense the results would be dramatic.

3. No more Mr. Nice Guys. Reggie Evans must lead the charge to make it clear that this is not the same warm and fuzzy Raptors. A more aggressive attitude is required. This team is going to be challenged in terms of rebounding. They also need a major improvement on defensive side of the ball. A group of this basketball team have to take on that role of defense first and offense second. For those guys on the fringe of the rotation want minutes just play D, Grab some boards and make a hard foul and time will be yours.

4. Development continues for Andrea Bargnani. He showed signs of the start of a post game and the ability to be a decent defender. A more inside and out type of offensive approach along with a bit more desire to defend and rebound. If you see Andrea blocking a shot and grabbing a board and scoring the odd basket in the paint those are all good signs. We all know Andrea can shoot it but he needs to show that he can do more. He starting doing that last year and must continue down that path.

5.Better than .500 after November. The start of the Raps schedule is extremely challenging. If this basketball team exits November with anything north of .500 record wise this will be a huge sign that Raptors will indeed be in play for home court advantage. It is a month full of playoff teams from both the East and West will make it a challenging month to say the least.

6. Hedo Turkoglu's gas tank. After a run to The Finals and Euro Basket will the Raptors key off-season acquisition have a healthy and productive year. Managing minutes and expectations will be key. Hopefully Hedo can have enough PIZZA POWER...to last all the way through the season. He is going to be key you have to figure in the Raptors offense.

7. If part of number 2 happens it will help this man most of all. Demar DeRozan is dunking the ball in transition and does not look out of place on defense it will mean big things for his rookie season. I know he has been working on his shot but the more dunks he can have as opposed to shots the better. Not just for him but all of the Raptors. If Demar is getting dunks it will mean the Calderon and Jack are being effective at pushing the ball and the defense is playing better. So to rip off a Bill Walton line...Throw it Down YOUNG MAN..Wait he says big man but whatever...Dunk IT and MAKE SOME POSTERS.

8. Jay Triano has a impact and establishes a rotation quickly. I mentioned how tough the schedule will be early on and that is the challenge for Jay Triano. He will not have the luxury of many games to experiment during the season. He also has to ride this squad to push the ball and to be accountable on defense. Jay has proven to be effective in using his plays after time outs to some success. Those are just a few things of the many that will be challenges for Jay in his first full season as head coach of the team.

9. Jarrett Jack and the bench will not have to do much to be better than last year. However the added depth this squad has must contribute and play a role. If they can you can afford to give Calderon, Turkoglu and Bosh time to rest. If you can reduce the minutes those 3 have to play night in and night out it will be a benefit in several ways. The first and most important is less wear and tear on all 3. Also it will give them a chance to max out there effort when they are on the floor. If they are all playing 30-35 minutes a night and able to go 100% that will be huge. If you have to have Bosh playing close to 40 along with Hedo that is not going to be a good situation in the long run. In terms of Jack he offers a defensive option if Jose is not getting it done on that end of the floor.

10. Less Help and more responsibility. Jack Armstrong always likes to say that "Help" is the weakest word in the defensive vocabulary. If you don't hear people yelling that word it will be a good sign. The overall defense and how they work as individuals is going to be key. This basketball team should have no trouble scoring points. What will be the deciding factor is can they get stops down the stretch of games. If they can that may be the best sign of all for the Raptors as a whole.

So that is some things to look for over the pre-season schedule and start of the season. DNB RADIO is kind of in limbo at the moment as my work schedule is conflicting with it and I may have to look for a new time and day to do the show. Perhaps Monday might be an option but will see. The Yahoo League is full for Fantasy and if you want in for our ESPN League just send me an e-mail you would like an invite sent to. E-mail me at dinonationblog@sourcecable.net or give me a shout on Twitter @dinonationblog.


Looking Back On 15 Years

While we wait for training camp to get going, thought today I would take a step back and look at history of this franchise. Well more my own personal history with the Raptors. This will be the 15 season that the Raptors have been in the NBA. It may surprise some people but at first I was not sure if I was going to be a Raptor fan. I was excited that the NBA was returning to Canada. Well at least historically, for me it was a first as it was for majority of folks. I am pretty sure most of us were not alive when the Toronto Huskies played in the first season of the NBA. I had always been a basketball fan but driving all the way to Detroit was never something I had done. So just to have the ability to go watch an NBA game was exciting. That is something 15 years later I think we all take for granted. Slowly I started to grow attached to this new team. The clincher for me was the drafting of Damon Stoudamire. I had watched him play at Arizona and was a big fan of how he played the game. Prior to that I cheered for the Hornets. Damon would show all of those people that booed him on draft night just how wrong they were. He would win the Rookie of the Year Award in that first season. Mighty Mouse was the first star this team had and it was fun to watch him play. He would get a triple double early in that first season which since has been a rare event for the Raptors.

It was sad that Damon's time with the Raptors was not as long as you might have hoped for and should have been. Damon would never have the success or fame that he did as a Toronto Raptor. In that first season the Raptors also had one of the Michigan's "Fab 5" in Jimmy King. He would not do as well as his college team members in the NBA. Webber, Rose and Howard all had longer and more successful careers. But at least my Michigan Wolverines will always be an answer to a trivia question. Jimmy King would be the first of many second round picks that would not work out so well for the Raptors. That first Raptor team also had John Salley who these days is known for The Best Damn Sports Show but was of course part of championship teams with Pistons. There was the Big O aka Oliver Miller who I think is easily the largest Raptor is history. Zan Tabak, Alvin Robertson, Carlos Rodgers and many others are names that we all may remember from those early days.

Like any expansion team it was a group of misfits.The uniforms with the big red Dino and purple all over fit that nicely. Still they were our misfits and there was something to that. So many names have rolled through on this squad over the years. Jerome Williams is one that will always stick out for me. He was not part of those early days. However the story of him jumping in his truck and driving from Detroit to Toronto is a blizzard is a story I will never forget. I have had to meet him a couple times back in early 2000's and he was just a great person and fun loving guy. Still is for that matter. Morris Peterson is another guy I have met in person. The fact I am a Michigan fan and he went to Michigan State would make it hard to love him normally. But he was also a pretty great person and I actually was able to connect with him based on where we both lived. He was from Flint, Michigan and I am from Hamilton. The connection is an event that happens between the 2 cities called the CANUS Games. It is an event where the two cities complete in various sporting events, basketball among them. Moe P is a fan favourite for lots of people and is I believe the longest serving Raptor in terms of games played.

Like I have said I was a Hornets fan prior to the Raptors. So to see Dell Curry and Muggys Bogues play for the Raptors was a personal treat for me. Bogues was just flat out fun to watch play the game. If you ever have met him you could never believe that a guy that small could play in the NBA. He looks like he could be one of the players kids. When it comes to Dell he was just one of the best shooters to ever play the game. Who knew that his son shooting baskets on the Raptors floor would years later be doing it during games starting this season.

Any look back at the Raptors has to give a mention to Charles Oakley. He in a lot of ways made this franchise grow up. His no nonsense approach and his bombastic comments and style was great. Oakley even long after he was gone would be a symbol of toughness that was lacking in future teams. He was not afraid to stand up to anyone from Vince Carter to the league itself. Charles Oakley was his own man and I think that is one of the reasons people respect and love him.

Raptors have had the good fortune to have some quality people covering them over the years as well. John Saunders of ESPN use to call Raptor games and of course Chuck Swirsky. Not to mention the may folks that we have had as guests here. Jack Armstrong, Paul Jones and Eric Smith. Leo Rautins also has been there from the start. I may not be a fan personally but he has been here from the start. You also have Doug Smith who has been on the Raptors beat from day one as well on the print side.

But when they right the story of this franchise be it 10 years from now or 50. Two names will be in that history for sure. Vince Carter and Chris Bosh. They are the 2 multi-time all stars that this franchise has produced. Many people still hate Vince Carter to this day. However there is no way not to mention him when you talk about the history of this team. He was truly amazing in those early days. He did things that people looked at with true amazement. Shaq gave him a nickname of half man and half amazing and he truly was. There was a time when Vinsanity was just that. If he made that 3 pointer in Philly who knows how the story might have changed. He more than anyone before him or after made the Raptors truly relevant to the U.S media.

Bosh on the other hand has grown into the role. He slowly has developed from a rookie will lots of potential to a top player in the league. He was the star player on the first and only Raptors Division Title winning team. It is, as I have said many times, been a pleasure to watch him grow. Looking forward to hopefully the best season ever this year.

That just scratches the surface of my memories of this team. What are your memories of this Raptors Franchise? Share some in the comments, be it a player a game or whatever.


Fantasy B-Ball And More.

I am back at it for another week. Have been taken some time off here and there. But there is a long season to come so taking these days now when not much is going on. Marco Belinelli met the media on Friday and he seems very happy to be here. We are just 2 weeks out from training camp in Ottawa. It will be an important time for this team to bond and gel. Nice to see so many guys are in town early. Including Demar Derozan, who seems to getting use to his new home here in Toronto based on his tweets. It is almost time to take this team on paper and put it on the floor. Based on the majority of opinions out there the people in media and fans seem to think the Raptors have done well for themselves. It won't be long before we find out if that is in fact the case.

Fantasy Fix

Speaking of on paper kinda. Fantasy Basketball season is here. I have set up a league on Yahoo and there are only a few spots left as I did want to give everyone that played last year a chance to sign up again. They have had enough time now so if you want in the league id # is 134183 and password is dnb4life . I also have set up an ESPN Keeper league. If you would like to play in that please email me an e-mail that I can send you an invite to the league. My e-mail is dinonationblog@sourcecable.net drop me a line there and I will invite you to that league. People have told me they have had trouble finding the ESPN League so that is why. But it is called Dino Nation Blog and has same password as the Yahoo league above. The Mock GM league we have going on PASPN has been a lot of fun and a very active and great group. That is what I hope for these leagues as well. The goal in having these leagues is to allow you as a reader to have fun and interact with not just me but a number of other great fans like yourself. If we fill these leagues I will consider starting other leagues if there is demand for it.

Heard some interviews on Fan 590 on the Got Game show with Zack Cooper on the upcoming basketball video games. Both NBA LIVE and 2K10 look like they will be promising. I am a big fan of the sports video games and even though I am in my 30's and am far past my gaming prime I still enjoy them.

It is a lot better playing video games than with guns. Just ask Delonte West on that. I put this out on my Twitter but in case you do not follow me @dinonationblog . I have a friend in Spain that sent me this little video of Jose Calderon who I take it was doing some broadcasting for Euro Basket. Despite it being in Spanish. But here it is none the less.

So Leo and Jack go down Jose can fill in on the broadcast. I think we would all prefer seeing him on the floor. So that is a little bit of this and that to start the week.


Not A Lot Left To Say

Sorry that yesterday I took an unplanned day off. I also have to take a week off from DNB Radio. I am going to be doing an NCAA Football game for The Score. Maybe Chris Bosh and Jarrett Jack will be checking it out, because it is their old school Georgia Tech taking on Miami. I have to be honest when it comes to the blog. I have reached a point that pretty much I feel that everything that can be has been said at this point. The Raptors have had as good a summer as anyone could have hoped for and imagined. Really over the next 2 weeks until training camp gets rolling there is not much that can be said. At least not that has not been said in this blog and elsewhere.

Still that does not take away the excitement that the season is rapidly approaching. The fact Bryan Colangelo has been so busy has really made the summer fly by to be honest. It seems like years ago that the Raps were playing out the string and winning games that honestly did not matter. Well starting on October 28th they will matter again. To be honest in this pre-season even though they do not matter in theory, it will be important for the Raptors. Once the schedule came out it became pretty clear the Raptors better be ready to roll from the start this season. If you took last year's squad and gave them this schedule they would be hard pressed to find a win in the first month. Even an easier game for the Raptors vs Memphis has got a little more challenging thanks to the addition of Allen Iverson.

If our recent poll means anything, it seems most will be watching both Demar DeRozan and Marco Belinelli close this preseason. Colangelo saying that Marco Belinelli has the potential to be a 6 th man of the year raised some eyebrows indeed. While for those who saw Demar DeRozan in summer league they walked away impressed. Marco may get a chance to meet with the Toronto Media, as he is expected in town ether today or tomorrow. He will also get to see his buddy Andrea who in back in Toronto. The gang is slowly assembling as the days till training camp grow shorter.

What will be interesting is if we will have NBA Refs to start the season. Yesterday the NBA Officials unanimously reject the latest contract offer from the league. Even though we all may have are beefs with the Refs from time to time. However with the odd exception they are the best of the best. If you watch any amount of NCAA basketball you will truly understand just how good they are. If we start the season with some form of replacement officials it will be eye opening. Here is all the labour details from The Star via the Associated Press.

This also brings to mind that after next season the Players Union and the NBA are preparing to go to war. So enjoy the NBA while it's here because the early signs for the next CBA negotiations are not looking positive at all. But it is very early to say what will happen and I hope that all sports leagues learned for the mess that was the NHL Lockout that wiped out an entire season. That being said when money gets involved people sometimes lose any common sense and do not think logically. I do have faith that David Stern is smarter than Gary Bettman and will find a way to make a deal. But that is still 2 years away and things can change as we are starting to learn in terms of the free agent frenzy that we are suppose to see next off-season.

So that is about all I have for you today. I do apologize for not having DNB Radio this week but I have to work as we do. But hopefully this conflicts will not come up very often.


Tweak and Tweets

I have to admit that I am getting cranky waiting for the season to get started. I am getting misty for summer league at this point. I guess that I should have been paying attention to EuroBasket. It seems Hedo Turkoglu tweaked his ankle. Great another Raptor gets hurt in some game that means nothing for the Raptors. However according to Doug Smith Hedo will be ok according to the Raptors. This does bring up an issue that Raptors if they are going to be team United Nations are always going to have to deal with. If David Stern can be concerned about players on Twitter, how about being concerned about players playing internationally. I am pretty confident no player has ever been hurt tweeting but playing internationally is a growing list. Sorry to all the folks from various countries that make up the Raptors, I am only concerned about having healthy players and if Turkey, Italy or Spain suffer internationally...so be it. The Raptors paid Hedo 53 million dollars last time I checked. It is just something I am going to have to get use to doing, holding my breath each summer and praying players are safe. Mark Cuban has the odd rant about the topic but beyond that there does not seem to be many thinking this is an issue of those that matter.

Camp is just 2 weeks from tomorrow can you believe it? It is going to be a long 2 weeks I think. It has been a summer full of tweets and Ustreams and lots of change around the league. I just wonder when someone is going to stand up to David Stern? When he brought in a dress code I was convinced that some player would challenge that. An Iverson or a Ron Artest but it never happened. Now people being able to express themselves through social media is being questioned. This at the same time the league is starting to allow team to advertise on jerseys. Sure it is just practice uniforms for now but we all know it will not stop there right? How can you on the one hand turn players into billboards and on the other not allow them to express themselves. It really does not seem right. When is the NBA going to have a true rebel that challenges all of these things? The answer may be never as they all make far to much money not to play ball...to play ball if you get what I am saying.

The NBA has a good thing going with the whole Twitter craze. I was not surprised or shocked that Stern is looking to regulate it. I am actually surprised it took this long. However maybe I am being a bit hypocritical because I want to take away the choice of players playing for their country or not. However the NBA Players will just do what they have been told it seems. Unlike Alex Ovechkin who recently told the NHL that regardless of if they are going to the Olympics in 2014 he is. That takes some guts and pride in your country to do that. If the NBA is ever going to get out from under the thumb of David Stern it will take a major star like a Kobe or Lebron to do it. They are not likely to take any stands to save Twitter or anything else for that matter. In the case of Lebron it is much more of an issue that a video of some college kid dunking on you does not see the light of day. While Kobe has spent to much time restoring his image after his problems in Denver years ago. Not to mention there is no Kobe or Lebron on Twitter..at least not the real ones.

ESPN also sent out a memo about Twitter for their employees as well. Twitter is a cool thing and just like all things people are doing their best to screw up a very simple idea that has been successful. I have no idea if Twitter will be a fad, trend or it is here for good. But what I do know is when people are trying to regulate what people can and can't say that is not something I approve of. What happened to the concept of freedom of speech? Surely you don't give that away when you sign an NBA Contract do you? I watch basketball because of the personalities of these athletes just as much as I do for their jaw dropping skill and talent. I do not want to watch robots play the sport and David Stern needs to stop trying to regulate every aspect of his players. It is just putting out a corporate image that is fake.

You may think that this is a little nutty going off about Twitter. However it is just making a point that where exactly do these things end? Things have changed and thanks to the internet athletes are going to have there own say weather Stern likes that or not. I doubt Twitter will make it in the NBA's next CBA but players after all the dollars and cents are taken care of should take a stand for some of their personal rights.

I am still on Twitter @dinonationblog and happy to say nobody is telling me what I can or can't say for now. To quote Public Enemy...Fight the Power. Even if it is in 140 characters or less.


DNB Takes A Pause For A Day

8 years ago the sports world came to a stop. I am not sure if it is just me, but the events of 9-11 do not seem that long ago. It is an event that truly changed the world we live in. So many people had their lives suddenly come to an end. While the rest of us have had our life altered forever more. Everyday here in the Dino Nation Blog, I try to share my love of the sport of basketball . Sports are truly an escape from the realities of life. We all like to feel that sports are important and matter. But in the grand scheme of life, who starts, gets traded or wins, ultimately is not life and death. It is why I like covering sports to begin with, no matter what I write about in this blog, it is not going to impact on the things that really matter in this world.

It is important to keep the passion we have for sports in some kind of perspective. It is great that sports can bring us all together though. Sports do have a roll in life. In the week that would follow 9-11 the entire sports was gone. When sports came back it served as a way to get back to some kind of normalcy. Sports brings joy to people and hopefully in some small way this blog is part of that.

It really seems only right to leave talking about sports on this day to the side. Take this day to reflect on just how lucky we are to be here. There are thousands of people who on this day lost their lives. Let's not let by time passing, let us forget what was a truly tragic event that all of us lived through and experienced. The Raptors, The NBA and the sports world will still be here tomorrow.

I am grateful to have got to know so many great people through doing this blog. I wish each and everyone of you my best wishes. I think of this place as not just a basketball blog but as a community of people. If anything good came from the events of 9-11, it may be that we all realized that we are part of a larger community. May all of you that take time out for me be safe and well. Let's hope we never have an event such as this in our lifetimes again.


DNB Radio Thursday

You every had a week where you feel that you are 10 miles behind? That pretty much describes this week for me. You would think in the off-season that it would not be so busy. However it has been for whatever reason. However just like the mail (At least for 6 weeks) DNB Radio will hit the air @10 pm. A.I has God tell him to go to Memphis? D.D has landed in T.O. Season is fast approaching and that mean fantasy b-ball. Those are some of the things that might come up. I won't say God told me to do DNB Radio, but hopefully he gives me the skill and talent to make it good for all of you. There have not been much in terms of callers last few weeks. However you are always welcome to give us a shout at (347) 994 2767. If you can't afford the long distance call to NYC try coming back to Dino Nation Blog and use DNB Chat as I will check in on there during the show. So here is the link to episode 6 of DNB Radio that starts at 10pm every Thursday.

So please tune in if you are able to and if not you can check out the show right here on the site under the DNB Radio section on the right hand side of the site. So is DNB Chat as well.


Air Canada Flight 10 Has Landed

It's over the Allen Iverson summer saga of where he will go is done. If you have not heard Allen Iverson will be suiting up for the Memphis Grizzlies this year. So now A.I has strange odd connections with both of Canada's franchises in the NBA. He will play obviously for the former Vancouver franchise in Memphis. He also could have been selected by the Raptors if not for the deal that restricted the Raptors from having the first pick. They would instead pick second and take Marcus Camby. This is a pretty sad thing to me. I started off hating Allen Iverson, but over time I came to respect and love him as a player. To see him now playing for a sad franchise in the Memphis Grizzlies, the only thing worse would have been seeing Iverson forced into an early retirement. Raptors wise, they will get to see A.I in his new digs right away as their first road game of the season against Memphis.

Iverson in his career has been a Raptor killer. Beyond maybe Kobe Bryant, I can not think of a player that consistently has laid the wood to the Raps. A.I was part of one of the greatest playoff series I have ever seen between the Raptors and Sixers. The duel he had with Vince Carter was truly fantastic.  This latest chapter of A.I's career is likely to be one of those things, where a great player finishes his career with a number of teams that we will try to forget.  When you think A.I you are going to think Philly and the Sixers...simple as that.

Welcome Demar DeRozan to his new home away from home in T.O.  Maybe one day we can say the same about him and a Raptor jersey.  It is going to be an adjustment from sunny California to snowy at times Toronto.  However judging by his Twitter does he see the outside of a basketball gym enough to notice? Some may remember, that I was hoping for Jonny Flynn to be the Raps pick. However I have really come to appreciate Demar DeRozan a lot.  Thanks go out to Justin Walsh and Holly Mackenzie for helping me get to know more about Demar over the summer. They both love the guy. After watching from a far, I am starting to understand why.

This kid works and works. He is what they like to say in basketball circles a gym rat. However he seems like a nice young man not sure I want to call him a rat of any kind.  He lives in the gym and is constantly looking to improve and grow his game. If he can carry this work ethic through his entire career he could be something very special indeed. It is always said you want your best players to be your hardest workers and it sure seems like Demar DeRozan has got that down. If he truly is to become "Heir Canada" it is going to take work. Ironically the original "Air Canada" often had his work ethic questioned. He for a lot of folks would just get by on his unbelievable skill and talent and not work to hard.  That is not DeRozan. He takes all his athletic skill and seems to want to get the absolute max out of it.

He also is concerned with caring for his mother who suffers from Lupus  and that at least was part of his choice to jump to the NBA early.  Vince of course also had a much noted relationship with his mother. The issue was never that Vince loved his mom. It was that his mom always seemed to have something to say and was all tied up in his business affairs.  Demar just wants to make money to improve the care his mother can get. If there every was a reason to be happy for an athlete getting paid a ton of cash is that not the best one you could have?

Will Demar DeRozan be a Vince Carter or an Allen Iverson? Long way to go on knowing that one. But what I think we do know is we have a very talented well adjusted young man that seems to have his priorities in order. Air Canada Flight 10 has touched down in Toronto and the quest to get his crown begins.


What The Raps Have Under The Christmas Tree?

Most Raptor fans are like kids who have seen all their gifts and can't wait for Christmas to come. Santa Colangelo has come through in a major way for all the good little boys and girls that support the Raptors. Let's just hope when all the presents get unwrapped they all work.  Just like every Christmas there will be the odd gift that you will want to return. But no indication that Marcus Banks can be returned to the store. Hopefully Bryan Colangelo kept his receipt. 

But to be serious there is a ton of expectation for this basketball team and it should be interesting to see how it goes. Hedo Turkoglu had 19 points playing for his native Turkey on the weekend. He is the Michael Jordan of Turkey after all. So the fact he is playing on the national side makes sense.  Canada will be taking on Hedo and the U.S and all the rest next summer. After qualifying Canada lost to both Brazil and Argentina in the Semi and Bronze Medal game. 

I can't stress enough how important this camp will be for the Raptors and the Pre-Season. When you look at the schedule you will only find the odd easy game. If there is such a thing as an easy game in the NBA. It is going to be vital for this team to be on the same page off the start. If they are going to live up to the lofty expectations of being a top 4 team. Under normal circumstances for a team coming off missing the playoff and only reaching the 30's in the win column that would be crazy. However,  this is pretty much a brand new team beyond it's core of Bosh, Bargnani and Calderon.

Demar Derozan is heading for Toronto according to his twitter account(@demar_derozan). He could be the real wild card in this whole thing. He is very young but if he could have a break out rookie season it would really be a huge bonus.  There is a camp of folks that think Demar will end up in the starting line-up and get to play along side the best players this team has. The idea behind that is he can focus on just his defense and rebounding and get his scoring from hustle and effort.  It makes sense. It will be interesting to see what he looks like come the new year and see if he can be able to do more offensively. Time will tell but based on his work ethic,  my expectation is a guy that will grow and get better each game, each week and each month.

The other 2 guys that could perhaps surprise and rise might be Marco Belinelli and Amir Johnson. I think it is safe to say both see this as a huge opportunity and are looking to take advantage of it.  Belinelli fell out of favour with Nelly and things did not work in Golden State. While Johnson was on of a young core of players that had to sit and watch a lot in Detroit.  Belinelli will be a guy that could find open looks and be the 3 point gunner that Colangelo had envisioned Jason Kapono to be.  Why Johnson could add some defensive punch along with a Reggie Evans.  Johnson can be a shot block and a game changer if he is able to play at his best. Also getting on the boards will be a key part of his job description. He is one of the last of those high school kids that was able to crack into the league. So he still has a lot of room to grow and develop. 

The blog has been having some technical issues that came up over the weekend. I am not sure if the problems are fixed yet or not. But if they come up again I will get them all ironed out before the season gets going.  Let's hope they will not resurface. I am far from a technical genius here. If you signed up for the Mock GM league the draft goes tomorrow at 7:15 pm (Toronto Time). Just wanted to say thanks to all that are taking part in the league. It seems that folks are really enjoying it. We will also have a more traditional fantasy games coming later as the season approaches.


Canada Qualifies

Photo credit: FIBA/Jose Jimenez

Well Canada some how manged to find a way to Turkey. It took getting help and beating the Dominican Republic in a must win game last night in Puerto Rico. It was a thrilling finish but the game was shown on tape delay which made it a tad bit hard to avoid hearing the news. This win perhaps secures Leo Rautins his job moving forward. The 80-76 win left Charlie V feeling very disappointed as he tweeted from his account @CV31 how disappointed he was over the loss.

This marks the first time Canada will be going to the World Championships since way back in 2002. In that tournament they finished a disappointing 13th. It will be interesting to see if Canada will have a Red Rocket on board for Turkey next year. Matt Bonner who as most know married Canadian and has a Canadian grandparent, has expressed interest in playing for Canada internationally.

The tournament does continue on as Canada will play in a Semi-Final today vs Brazil. Canada did play tough against Brazil in an earlier match-up. You can catch the Game on the Score at 11pm on tape delay. But the true mission for Canada has been accomplished in qualifying for the Worlds. It may not have been pretty at times but they don't ask how you got something accomplished just if you did. Well Canada did and congratulations to them on that. You could see all of the joy from these guys when that final whistle blew and it was great to see. Let's face facts not a lot of folks pay attention to the basketball in this country. You would hope in qualifying for the Worlds and perhaps adding a Matt Bonner will start to make people wake up and take notice.

Despite having a few of the games on tape delay, full marks to The Score for showing these games for the folks that do care. No other network stepped up and The Score has the past 2 years when Canada tried to qualify for the Olympics last year in Greece and again here with Canada trying to make it to the Worlds. The Dino Nation Blog is also a blog that does it's best to support Canada Basketball and will continue to do so. Sure I may not agree all the time with what has gone on with the program. But I care about it and that is what they need more of. People caring and giving coverage to this program and team. So congrats to Canada Basketball and please make sure to say hello to Raptors Hedo Turkoglu when you are visiting his country next year.


CB Where 4 Art Thou? (in 2010)

This is the ultimate question that Raptors fans have been wondering for awhile now. But not just them, but the league as a whole league has, with not only Bosh but Wade and James. ESPN had their 50+ basketball experts chime in. They only had 3 of them come back with Toronto as the answer. Here is the article if you failed to see it.

Ok first off, the fact ESPN has over 50 so called "experts" or as they refer to in the article as observers is truly scary. Second and more important it is critical to understand that ESPN has a bias and agenda in this stuff. They need to hype up the 2010 draft class because they have made it into this huge deal. It seems that James and Wade may end up going no where so why not Bosh to move. Not sure they counted on Bryan Colangelo being so successful at his make over of the Raptors. ESPN is in the rumour spreading and selling business. If 2010 free agent class turns into what this blog predicted as the basketball equivalent of Y2K it makes ESPN look BAD. So the fact 49 of their 52 folks see Bosh on the move is hardly shocking. To be honest, I read it and yawned loudly. It is really the same old thing. But honestly what really does ESPN know about the Raptors? They do cover so many of our games don't they? Sure they have one of our former players in Jalen Rose (also Mark Jones brother of Paul Jones). Jalen guaranteed that not just Bosh but James would end up being Knicks. I am pretty sure it is not a money back or satisfaction guaranteed prediction. However maybe it should be given that ESPN charges people for their "Insider" info. How they are able to pull that off is pure genius to me. It is proof that P.T Barnum was right when he said "there is a sucker born every minute". It pains me to point out this next fact to ESPN and all the suckers..opps I mean NBA ESPN Insider subscribers, but you may be dead wrong AGAIN.

It seems that here in Toronto an article in the Globe and Mail (Via Real GM) is painting a different picture. Bosh if you recall I believe in July had stated, what most knowledgeable folks already were aware of, that he would in fact play out his contract and opt out to become a free agent. This was hardly a newsflash. However an economic outlook for the league as a whole that is grim, combined with an off-season that was truly remarkable from Bryan Colangelo may have opened minds and doors. Bosh who once said that considering an extension was not an option has now left the door open to at least listen about one. Does this sound like the move of a man ready to bolt faster than the Jamaican sprinter out of Canada. It sure does not sound like the guy who has been counting the days till he can escape being in exile here in the far off land of the Great White North.

Now listening and signing are two complete different things. However when you consider that it was not even an option and now it is that is progress. What will ESPN do if the poster child for making 2010 relevant signs with the Raptors. Pray the Cavs and Heat fail most likely. I have said all along that based on all that we all have observed Chris Bosh to me seems happy to be a Raptor and happy to be in Toronto. The only thing he has ever wanted is to be able to win and have a team around him that is capable of doing that. So for as much as it is about dollars and cents it is about winning to with Chris Bosh. There are lots of teams that would gladly pay him top dollar to come play for them. However Chris has always said for him it is about winning. I have no reason to suggest it is not.

The outlook should Bosh amazingly sign an extension would be drastically different in some ways. This team and Bosh would not have the distraction of the Bosh Free Agent Circus coming to town everywhere the Raptors played on the road. It would allow this team to be focused on Bosh's main goal to win. It would also add to the summer in which Bryan Colangelo has made the impossible become possible. Bosh is spending time in Africa right now so it is not like this will happen tomorrow or next week. But the fact we are even having a conversation that it could blows my mind.

However, no matter if he does or doesn't the fact remains that I truly believe that Bosh as he said years back wants to be part of the solution here in Toronto. I also think Chris likes to have "his own" team and is not just going to change jersey's for the sake of it. You can make all the fake arguments you want about media exposure and all of the rest. However the truth is Chris Bosh has a pretty sweet deal being the best player on the only team in a country. I think he understands that and gets what that means.

He saw what it was like when Vince Carter checked out and what has happened since. I don't think Chris Bosh wants to go out like that in Toronto. The day may come when Chris is no longer a Raptor but it seems that a lot of signs point to it not being as soon as everyone thinks or hopes in some cases.

Does anyone have an answer to the question that is our title? Yup, one guy and that is Chris Bosh. He has made it no secret he is not a fan of the constant 2010 questions and if he signed and extension all of those questions would go away. It seemed like something that was never possible even a month ago. However now there is a small light to think...MAYBE. If not it really is not the end of the discussion. The only thing fans here can do if it doesn't is cheer this guy and make him feel wanted and needed. He still is, despite all the changes this team has made, the best player on it. If you are going to boo Chris Bosh this year at anytime..pause take a breath and think about it for everyone's sake.

If Steve Nash can sign with a Suns team that shows very little promise going forward. Is it really so crazy for Bosh to do the same with a team that seems on the right track? I truly personally hope this is not the end and just a new beginning. It has been a pleasure to watch Bosh mature and grow as both a player and a person. It has been a privilege and a joy and not one that I am will to give up. Not that I get to have much say in it. Wait maybe I do.

We had a poll of our staff here at Dino Nation Blog and 1 of our 1 basketball observers thinks that Chris Bosh will remain a Raptor. That is free of charge by the way for all of you wonderful readers of the Dino Nation Blog. That means about the same as what 50 + people think at ESPN...Nothing. Only Bosh knows or will decide and that is the bottom line cause CB4 said so? If you want Chris Bosh to stay in Toronto give me a hell yeah?


Camp Will Be Coming Soon.

I just want to point out something to you new on the site. I have added a chat feature to the DNB (Located on the Right>>>). So if you are looking to talk ball with me or other intelligent readers like you... please register for a chat name (Which takes under a minute) and get to know others that read the blog. One of the things the DIno Nation Blog has always tried to be about is giving basketball fans a place to find people that love the sport like them. I do live blogs, chats, fantasy games anything that can help the readers have some fun, that is something I am all for. Hopefully people take advantage of this latest edition to the blog.

So welcome to September. Hard to believe but by the end of this month the Raptors will be opening up training camp. The word on the street is that the Raptors will be returning to Ottawa to hold camp at Carleton University again. It will be a whole new crew from last year though. It is going to be a very exciting and interesting time once this collection of players Bryan Colangelo has brought together hit the floor.

So with that being said 10 things I am looking forward to this Pre-Season.

#10- Finding out who and what Sonny Weems is all about.
#9- Seeing how B.C refers to this group. I am guessing it will not be best team he has had in Toronto.
#8- Jack and Calderon playing on floor together. How will that work?
#7- Will Andrea take more steps forward? Want to see what he has got.
#6- Who has the Wright Stuff? Is it Wright or Belinelli or both?
#4- Reggie Evans battling and being tough...Bringing Back that Old School Oakley Ethic.
#3- A healthy Jose Calderon what can he do?
#2- Heir Canada starts his journey to take his crown. Demar DeRozan has me excited
#1- C B 4...The biggest season of his career and hopefully not his last.

Now for something that I am not looking forward to all that much. Canada taking on Argentina in the FIBA tournament. After the 2 games on the weekend I have lost all my passion for Canada and their chances to make it to World Championships. Games versus Argentina, Brazil and Dominican Republic all will not be easy. However I am stick to my plan to live blog the games. Canada tips off with Argentina at 4pm on The Score and I will be kicking off the Live Blog @3:45. So make sure you come back here and check it out. Canada could use your support. In addition so could I because it is not easy Live Blogging when there are not people there adding there 2 or even 3 cents to things.

Shout out to all the folks that have got into our Mock GM League people are really getting into it. Just 2 teams remain and there is still room for people to get in the game as agents. Sign up at PASPN.NET then use this link to join the league as a G.M or Agent. I am the Hornets G.M if you are looking for me. Which as I have said in the blog was my favourite team before the Raptors were around.