The Toronto Raptors have 2 TPE's (Trade Exceptions) from the Hedo Turkoglu trade and Chris Bosh sign and trade. However as important as they have been made out to be when Bosh was leaving for Miami, it is hard to get excited about them. If Bryan Colangelo sticks to his words about Raptors not going beyond the tax threshold, in the short term they mean little. Maybe I should run out and buy a Raptors Jersey # 2 and have TPE as the name. Would that get me kicked out of the ACC? Less likely than if you wear a Miami Heat #6 with James on it to Cleveland sporting events. But you only need to look at the Raptors trade of a second round pick for David Andersen with Houston as proof the TPE's are not turning into players anytime soon.
As frustrated as I may be with how the off-season has gone, the comments on ESPN Radio about the NBA needs to think about if it wants to be in Toronto is just flat out ignorant. The Raptors, it is true may never land Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and other superstars. However, the same can be said for a number of other NBA cites. Kobe isn't going to Memphis, Milwaukee, Indiana or a number of other franchises. In addition even through hard times Raptor fans have proven they love and support their team. I would not be personally doing what I am doing if that was not the case. Just because Chris Bosh didn't get the love and attention he felt he deserved here in Toronto doesn't mean the Raptors shouldn't exist. Vince Carter got lots of attention and love playing for the Raptors. He was featured on Sportscenter in the U.S on a nightly basis. The Raptors were featured on national broadcasts as well. Even to the point they played the Knicks on Christmas Day once. Long before they extended that to like 5 games on Christmas Day as well. So Mike and Mike should do a little research before they shot off their mouths instead of stroking Chris Bosh's hurt feelings. ESPN is now the unofficial broadcaster of the Miami Heat now aren't they? No? Sure seems like it.
Oh and ESPN wants a star player that would play here? Steve Nash but he isn't American so that does not exactly defeat the argument. That may actually be the answer for the Raptors in the long term. While the Raptors may struggle to attract free agents to Toronto, U.S Colleges have no trouble attracting Canada's most talented kids to play basketball. Tristian Thompson and Corey Joseph will be welcomed to Austin,Texas to play for the Longhorns. There are many other young kids turning heads these days. We have tried to mention some in the DNB from time to time. What the Raptors need is for there to be a Canadian Superstar and do whatever it takes to get this player.
I have said the biggest faliure of the Grizzlies in Vancouver was not drafting Steve Nash.That is saying a lot, because they made many major mistakes in Vancouver. Granted no one expected him to be a star at the time .Many in media tend to under value what it would mean to have a Canadian Raptor. I do not and think it matters for many that are perhaps casual basketball fans. However it should for hardcore ones as well. All the disadvantages the Raptors face would be flipped around somewhat. Also if the Raptors land a player that can contribute he becomes a great marketing tool in the quest to make the Raptors a true national team.
If the Raptors hit the Jackpot and land a true star Canadian player, that has a chance to be a top 15 player in the league, it could be massive for this franchise. To the Raptors credit they may in fact see that. They are very involved in Canada Basketball and the development of the sport on the youth level. It is a long term investment in their future. Granted it has yet to produce the dream player but the Raptors have only been around 15 years.
If the Raptors can get their own homegrown star it may be the best way to end this exodus of star players leaving for the U.S. Someone that has no bias or ignorance of this country. That is a long term solution though. It may not be the ultimate answer but it sure is a nice dream to holdout hope for. After all Cleveland had a hometown star that was the best or 2nd best player in the game. He left as well not to become more popular clearly. He left to win a championship or championships according to him. However, if you had a player that a whole country was behind, like a Yao Ming has for China, like a Dirk has with Germany, and have that player play in his country would that not be a bit different?
The Raptors alternate plan of trying to mesh a great number of Euro talents with American talents has not exactly worked. Canadian or Canadians playing with Americans has a much more likely success rate. As much as their may be differences between Canada and United States the differences are not nearly as much as some people in the United States claim it to be. Steve Nash has never had much issue making a lot of American players rich in this league. I remain unconvinced that a team that has such a high number of international players and American players can work.