It’s Business, Not Personal, For Raptors

Free agency can get awfully personal, when in reality it is nothing more, nothing less than the business of professional sports thrust awkwardly into the spotlight normally reserved for highlights and victories.

When a coveted athlete chooses one team over another, it typically means he sees better a earning potential and championship path (which often translate into dollars, too) with the former rather than the latter. Sometimes sunshine or nightlife plays a role, but most of the time, for most of the guys, the factors that matter most are money and rings.

That doesn’t stop it from hurting, of course, for fans of a spurned team — “spurned” is a very personal word, by the way — when a player they like heads elsewhere. That certainly didn’t stop it from hurting for Toronto Raptors fans when Steve Nash, the best NBA player Canada ever has produced, declined their team’s more lucrative offer to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

It wasn’t about money for Nash, but it was about the pursuit of a title. That figures to be more legit in L.A. than Toronto over what probably will be the final three seasons of the 38-year-old point guard’s career. That truth wasn’t what Raptors fans reacted to initially, when the disappointment hit Thursday, but it’s where they need to be now and it’s where a lot of their media insiders already are. Such as Doug Smith, dean of the Raptors’ beat for the Toronto Star:

 It’s not a repudiation of Canada — that’s so trite it should be dismissed out of hand; it’s not a repudiation of Toronto — 100 NBA free agents given the choice of the Lakers team and this Raptors team would take this Lakers team 100 times; if anything, it’s a repudiation of a team that’s been out of the playoffs for four years and needs to get closer to respectability before it can make a bold move like this.

No, you can’t blame a GM for trying; perhaps the only thing you can do is think, ‘okay, what’s next?’ And seeing how little has worked out of late, that’s fair comment. The pressure’s on him to do something to make the team better, a big trade most likely since the free agent market’s really limited right now but that’s to discuss here later today because I have to have something to do with my day.

And such as Damien Cox of the Star:

It would have been great to see Nash in Toronto. Certainly entertaining. But not getting him doesn’t materially change what has to happen with the Raps. They’ve got to develop good young players and a reputation that makes players want to come.

Whether [GM Bryan] Colangelo is the right guy to do that is open for debate. But Colangelo’s success, or failure, will have a lot more to do with whether Lithuanian youngster Jonas Valanciunas can become an NBA star than what Nash could’ve done for the team.

Fortunately, the Toronto organization and fan base can move on. Colangelo did manage a nice recovery by acquiring guard Kyle Lowry in a trade with Houston, giving up only a conditional first-round pick and reserve Gary Forbes. Lowry averaged 14.3 points and 6.6 assists for the Rockets last season. In Memphis, he was considered by many to be better than the teammate, Mike Conley, the Grizzlies actually paid and retained. And Lowry might be better than anyone who ends up playing the point for Houston next season.

Here’s Smith again on why Lowry might have been available in the musical chairs of point guards that has played out this week:

He publicly said after the season that he didn’t think he could co-exist with Rockets coach Kevin McHale after one season of trying to work together, a move that have hastened the Rockets’ pursuit of a trade.

But league sources say Lowry has matured greatly over the course of his career and that sometimes his competitive nature causes him to lash out.

A dogged defender with the ability to get to the rim on offence, he would seemingly fit into what coach [Dwane] Casey is trying to instill in the Raptors lineup.

That’s what Raptors fans should focus on most. Nash would have been a defensive liability. His offensive style wouldn’t naturally mesh with the way Casey and the team wants to play. And the fact is, Colangelo has to show he’s up to the job after six years and four straight lottery finishes.

A rumored deal with Philadelphia — swingman DeMar DeRozan and guard Jose Calderon to the Sixers for forward Andre Iguodala and 6-10 forward Nikola Vucevic — might be nothing more than that, a rumor. But the fact remains, the Raptors with Nash weren’t going to win any NBA championships. The club, as it readies for its 18th season, needs to develop from within, seed its own talent, regardless of where they grew up, and surgically add via trade. This is business, not personal.


  1. Trem says:

    The thing people dont see is Steve Nash grew up in BC not Toronto. Thats the other side of the country. Coming to Toronto is not coming home for him. Thats like a player born in New York going to LA and saying hes home because hes in the US

  2. dunkmycat(bill reive) says:

    Mr Aschburner
    Interesting that you would quote the worst hoops writer we have here in toronto…DS’s blog used to be THE place to go for Raps stuff, now it is nothing more than a silly facebook page of his own inflated self indulgent view of himself as THE story…serious hoops fans have long ago abandoned him when it bacame apparent he was nothing but a mouthpiece for BC…every bad move BC has made in the last 5 years (JO, Hedo, drafting Bargs no 1 , Kapono, ,letting Bosh go for ZERO, the horrible contracts for Amir and now Fields, letting Leandro go, it goes on and on) has either been defended or endorsed by DS…if the GM is the laughingstock of the league and the writer believes everythning he says and 5 years later almost NOTHING has worked out as BCplanned..well maybe you should find another reference point

  3. no name says:

    waiting for my response to show up

  4. Wana Dhite says:

    Nice comeback buddy (not really). If you don’t like Canadians, that’s fine. Stick with your first article about how the Canada Raptors (funny I thought we were called the Toronto Raptors) should of done way more and give him the kitchen sink with the 3 year 36 million contract (which was the most out of the teams that were pursuing him by the way). I do not accept this blog and this sugar coating. Where’s Stern to veto these two ‘articles’ (for basketball reason’s of course).

  5. Isiah Thomas says:

    Yeah I agree

  6. Eleyas says:

    I would keep demar because raptors have a pg so get rid of calderon and amir johnson

  7. hoopfan says:

    HAHAHAHA! Funny how Steve Aschburner is using OFFENCE now instead of the american OFFENSE after his demeaning article yesterday about the Canadians. Sugar coating perhaps? -___- Too bad a lot of people already read about it before coming up with a new and better article. Touche Steve! Touche! LOL!

    • Canadian Spellchecker says:

      That was actually a Doug Smith (Canadian reporter) blog quote and not Aschburner using the “offence” spelling. Baby steps. First, we get Steve to be a little more polite, then we teach him proper spelling… eventually leading to Canadian citizenship 😉

  8. jasonC says:

    I will just re-iterate what many have said……Trying to make nice after you dissed Canada, Stevie? You’re some piece of work, buddy.

  9. Fanatic says:

    Caldaron And DeRozen? For Iggy?… Not Going To happen.. I’d Say Caldaron And James Johnson!!!

  10. Lavallee says:

    Quincey Acey will be the man that all Raptors fan will love.

  11. raptor says:

    Best of luck to Nash hope he gets a ring. Hell no on trading Demar. Calderon to Bulls for Deng last move Colangelo get it done


    Dude, lol, dude common, dude, really? Take it easy Aschburner Canadians don’t hate you, no need to follow up with this type of story, I actually don’t mind your last email, what I do mind is a flip flopper, if your going disrespect Canadians, stick with it, at least be true to yourself buddy.

  13. Brock says:

    I like Iggy, but if we are going to package that deal together I would rather it be for Rudy Gay who’s rumored to be on the table. If the Raps do make this trade I don’t like Fields as the starting two, hopefully they’d make a run at OJ Mayo!!

  14. Kem says:

    My note above has a few errors in it… Should read as follows:

    Aschburner is trying to make up for the Anti-Canada article that he wrote yesterday…this one is better and has more basketball related content, however I think it’s best that NBA.COM not use him to write about Canada, Toronto, or the Raptors at all going forward until we Canadian NBA fans receive an apology from him. Thanks!!

  15. uoykcuf says:

    A Steve column with Raptors again? I guess steve likes getting his a-s-s-burn-ed from the lovely Canadians from his last blog. I think Toronto never did expect Nash to play there. Even if he did, they best they can get is a 8th spot?(don’t a-s-s-burn-ed me on this). it’s a win-win situation right now, Nash gets close to family and a chance for a ring, Toronto still got their caps.
    Locationwise, hell yea, you got 30 teams and only one is out of US. Of course they’ll choose a place they “think” they are more familiar with. Even the postal cost more!

    • Kyle Lowry is going to be an amazing pick up for the Raptors. He fits in exactly with Dwane Casey’s defensive mentality. Seeing as how Lowry is just that, a defense first PG, he will be a welcomed sight in Toronto. Houston is in no position to keep Lowry, Toronto is an ideal suitor because of its cap situation.

      I think Toronto should not trade DeMar DeRozan because he is a beast. He has a lot of potential and he is still young (turning 23 next month). He had a good season but some people feel he took a step back. I think he was very consistent and he took steps forward on the defensive end.


      THIS————————-> “Locationwise, hell yea, you got 30 teams and only one is out of US. Of course they’ll choose a place they “think” they are more familiar with. Even the postal cost more!”

      Toronto is a top 5 city bottom line in North America. I doubt players have this stigma when choosing a team via free-agency. If Toronto was in a better position in the standings then a big name free agent would consider going there. That is why the Raptors have had a hard time attracting big name free agents recently. Its not like we’ve never had any big names in Toronto. All doubters must watch next year. God willing, this team will surprise a lot of folks who aren’t taking notice.

  16. CAdam says:

    Good come back from the last “whoa Canada” article Steve, good comeback.

  17. jimi says:

    andre iguodola would be a great fit for toronto, but try to keep calderon.

  18. whizkid says:

    What are the Rockets gonna do after losing both their PGs and with all the desired PGs in the free agent market already taken ?

    • whizkid says:

      oh nvm … just read somewhere that the rockets and Lin agreed on a deal

      • TTKIN says:

        Ya but NY is promising theyll match it. As a RFA that means he automatically goes back to them.

  19. zer02her0 says:

    i dont mind raptors trading calderon. but derozan? for just iggy? hell no! derozan > igoudala
    also derozan is still improving and iggy i think already reached his peak skills improvement wise…

  20. fingazz says:

    The raptors wouldnt have gone far if they had picked up nash, he wants to win a ring and he made a good choice by picking the lakers

    • Tommy Jones says:

      Nash is more concerned with being near his children than he is winning a championship. The Lakers got a guy who has checked out and was looking for retirement money.