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Bryan Colangelo Upgrades His New Home

You've worked hard for the last eleven years of your life and served as president of your workplace for seven of them. Your family is happy and has a bright future and your success rate has never been higher. But your workplace is under new ownership and it's time for a change. It is a natural progression to try and improve your situation. So you accept a more challenging, higher paying job in a new city and you move into your new home. But you refuse to enter your new workplace and settle into your new position without trying to put a personal stamp and make your presence known. You move into your new home and you know that it needs upgrading. Perhaps you will add a new stove, a new television and some new walls; after all, you want your new home to be as comfortable and interesting as possible so that guests will be impressed by how much work you have put into it.

This is the mindset that was employed by Bryan Colangelo after his work was done in Phoenix. New ownership had moved in and they wanted to keep him around, but he had made his mark and it was time to move on. Another employer came knocking, check book in hand with an offer that simply could not be refused. So Colangelo moved into his new home and a brand new environment with pieces that needed upgrading and other pieces that looked good enough to keep in place.

His first course of action was to get rid of that bulky furnace that was dwelling in the basement, recently installed by previous owner Rob Babcock that he chose when better furnaces were available and has malfunctioned frequently over the past two years, not living up to its potential and had made him the laughing stock of the neighborhood. Failing to replace this monstrosity would have allowed the local community newspapers the opportunity to mock this oversized waste of space. Said furnace's name is Rafael Araujo, who was replaced by a younger model in Kris Humphries in the first of many home upgrades that Colangelo would undertake.

The bricks that held the house together, Chris Bosh, wanted some stronger foundation that could help hold the house up without him having to endure the wear and tear of trying to do the work himself. Colangelo acquired said foundation upgrade in Rasho Nesterovic and all he had to give up was the home's model red rocket ship, a trusty, quirky and popular mainstay in the home and an old radiator that was taking up space. In other words, the fan favorite shooting big man Matt Bonner, who added character to the home and outdated malcontent Eric Williams who was acquired when the previous home owner traded the home's stove (Vince Carter) for an old toaster oven (Aaron Williams), the outdated radiator (Eric Williams) and some cable television credits (two late first round selections).

Colangelo's acquisition of the new foundation will resonate in the long-term and if it is not as not as sturdy as he hopes, since it is quite expensive and has not always lived up to expectations, the move may end up an overpriced laughing stock in the neighborhood.

The next course of action was to help pay off the house's mortgage by finding a basement tenant who will help make recommendations for future upgrades. Colangelo was able to find an old friend of his from another part of the world to occupy the basement as his right-hand man in Maurizio Gherardini. Since moving in, Gherardini has helped Colangelo find some nice, affordable international home upgrades.

Gherardini was instrumental in helping Colangelo convince the neighbors that his new Italian stove would have more heart than the previous one. It took quite some time for the rest of the neighbors to see what he was talking about, since none of them had ever owned an Italian stove. But when it came down to the day of the kitchen show (the NBA Draft), the rest of the league was not surprised when Colangelo arrived early to secure Andrea Bargnani, who the neighborhood hopes will heat things up quickly and often if Colangelo wants to convince them of its value and make him look like he made the right selection in the long run.

The selection of the new, Italian stove was quite confusing for some of the neighbors, who wondered what Colangelo would do with the year-old stove that the previous home owner had acquired at last year's kitchen show. One of the biggest problems with Colangelo's new home was that his lights had started getting temperamental and doing some crazy things. What good is a home if you are unable to show off and maximize what's in it by making the rest of the house look as bright as possible? Colangelo decided to throw out his old lights, which made their way to a new home in Minnesota and pick up some new lights in exchange for the team's second stove. The stove, Charlie Villanueva, was efficient, sturdy and popular, but there were some days where the stove just would not work, no matter how much you wanted it to. Some neighbors were very disappointed when the powerful stove that was brimming with potential was shipped out of the home for the new lighting system, T.J. Ford. Many argued that great stoves are hard to come by and that you can get an effective lighting system anywhere.

With the strong belief that some International appliances would be more efficient and less expensive than their domestic counterparts, Colangelo went and did some overseas shopping. Colangelo went to Israel and found an older American fridge with a cool head and calm demeanor in Anthony Parker. Parker is tried, tested and true and had a history of providing leadership for a very successful, luxurious overseas home.

To make cooking more efficient, Colangelo and Gherardini also worked together to scout a Spanish toaster oven that made things happen with the utmost of effort in Jorge Garbajosa. Nobody in the neighborhood had any Spanish appliances, aside from Jerry West's home on the other side of town that had a trusty Gasol brand stove.

Another important addition that Colangelo hoped to make was an exciting new television. He wanted to bring some entertainment to his home and purchased a versatile home entertainment system with a wealth of features from Philadelphia for some cash. Unfortunately, the neighbors were mostly unimpressed, as this system was known to have problems with its efficiency in the past. Many felt that Colangelo had overpaid and signed a lengthy financing deal that would eventually become outdated and hold no value.

A few weeks later, Colangelo found out that the entertainment system would be incompatible with the rest of the home and operated more efficiently in a hotter climate. So when John Salmons ended up in Sacramento for more money, very few neighbors were disappointed.

Colangelo decided to go with a more exciting television that had impressed the entire world in 2004 with its dazzling picture quality at a competition in Los Angeles. The television was more cost-effective with fewer years financing than the one that ended up in Sacramento and would fit in perfectly with the guidance of the home's new lighting system that would enhance its performance. Many were quite satisfied that Colangelo ended up with Fred Jones rather than Salmons, who had never really lived up to expectations in the past and wanted too much money for too many years.

Before purchasing the new television, many neighbors were disappointed, but understanding when the previous television with poor picture quality and low functionality over the past two years had its financing paid off and was dumped onto the front lawn. Thankfully, many acknowledged that it was time to move on and Jones was placed into the same role and jersey number as Alvin Williams.

Another addition that Colangelo received was a Slovenian food processor that had been ordered by the previous home owner a year prior to sit in the cupboard for safe keeping and utilized when needed.

Colangelo wisely held onto the home's washer and dryer who may be replaced at the end of the year or re-financed for the future. The always-efficient, hard-working Morris Peterson will remain with the team in a starting role.

The home also kept its Spanish microwave (Jose Calderon), its Senegalese dining room table (Pape Sow), its grandfather clock (Darrick Martin) and Colangelo's young interior designer (Sam Mitchell) to put all of the pieces in place.

With all of the upgrades in tact, Colangelo has built a house that he can be proud of and will be fun for neighbors to check out. When guests come and visit, they will see an entirely different home from last year, retaining its best elements and improving the ones that needed upgrading. The home is certainly far from being the best on the block, but with some more upgrades over time and further experience earned, the Toronto Raptors' home has a very bright future.

Grading The Deal: Magloire Heads To Portland

Desperate times call for desperate measures is a proverb that is easily relatable to the world of sports, especially in a trade scenario where a team unloads a player who they feel carries a burden or is no longer needed at whatever expense necessary. In the latest major NBA trade that sent Jamaal Magloire to Portland for Brian Skinner, Steve Blake and Ha Seung-Jin, Milwaukee makes it appear that they had this proverb in mind. The follow-up question that needs to be asked is why.

Toronto native Jamaal Magloire is a one-time NBA All-Star who nearly averaged a double-double in 30 minutes-per-game for the Bucks last season. Before this year?s NBA Draft that saw the Bucks without a first round selection due to trading it for Magloire, general manager Larry Harris did something that bordered on the absurd by declaring Magloire readily available for a starting power forward.

Low and behold, the Bucks landed their starting power forward in Charlie Villanueva at the expense of their starting point guard T.J. Ford. The Bucks are now stacked up front with the 2005 first overall pick, Aussie Andrew Bogut paired with Villanueva as starters and Magloire, veteran Joe Smith and Dan Gadzuric off the bench. One of these players was likely to be traded and all signs pointed to Magoire, who they could shop for some backcourt depth. Instead, the Bucks ship him off for spare parts.

The Bucks receive Brian Skinner, Steve Blake and Ha-Seung Jin

Am I missing something here? Did the Bucks really just trade a former All-Star who averaged nearly a double-double and shot a solid field goal percentage for Steve Blake?

Realistically, that?s the trade: Magloire for Blake. Forget Brian Skinner, he?s likely the best player that the Bucks receive, but with Smith and Gadzuric occupying the bench, Skinner?s lucky to get 15 minutes per game. With a team option after this season, I do not see Skinner as part of the Bucks? long-term plan.

Ha Seung-Jin, he?s a fan favorite, his photoshopped images are a mainstay on our RealGM Portland Trailblazers forum and are beloved by all. But if I had to wager, I would bet that Ha will be sent down to the D-League or be flat out waived by the Bucks.

The only player who will get minutes is Blake, who behind Mo Williams and Charlie Bell has the opportunity to challenge for a starting spot. The Bucks will have two second round players and an undrafted player slugging it out for the keys to the car.

With Bell likely splitting his backup minutes at the shooting guard and point guard spots, where he averaged over 20 minutes-per-game after a breakout season, Blake will also average around 20 minutes-per-game if he comes off the bench.

The striking need for the Bucks was to find a swingman who could backup Simmons and Redd and after trading Magloire, they still come up empty. The Bucks land spare parts for a player who could start for most NBA teams.

Long-term Ramifications:

None, all three players possess expiring contracts (if the Bucks renounce Skinner?s rights at the end of the season) and are expendable.

The Blazers receive Jamaal Magloire

If you do not ask, you do not receive and general manager Steve Patterson proves that with this deal, where they essentially land a useful player for some spare parts.

One might argue that Blake is a talented player and I will not argue that statement, but with the emergence of Jarrett Jack, Dan Dickau on the bench and Brandon Roy?s ability to run the point, one could argue that he had become redundant.

With Zach Randolph, Joel Przybilla, Raef Lafrentz and second overall pick LaMarcus Aldridge, do the Blazers need another front court player? Not really, but to get a player like Magloire, who has an expiring contract, for basically peanuts is a winning situation because not only do they get the best player in this deal, but they free up two roster spots in the process.

Another question someone could ask is what exactly the Blazers are trying to do and that answer can best be explained as the team trying to establish a new identity. They have weeded out most of the malcontents, aside from the notable Darius Miles and the often cranky, defensive liability Zach Randolph. With fresh faces like Roy, Aldridge and Martell Webster, the hard-working young sharp shooter with a great attitude, this team can begin turning over a new leaf. The addition of Magloire gives them a solid locker room presence who will hopefully keep Randolph in check.

Long-term Ramifications:

None, Magloire is an expiring contract and the team loses nothing of long-term value. The only foreseeable problem could be Juan Dixon missing his college running-mate, but that?s speculation on my part.

Portland?s Grade: B+

Milwaukee?s Grade: D-

Verdict: Despite not adding anything to their depth chart, the Blazers pick up a very tradable asset to shop to teams in the playoff hunt as the trade deadline approaches and the Bucks pick up spare parts that occupy two additional roster spots and add nothing of value aside from a secondary or tertiary point guard option in Blake.

Grading The Deals: Second Week Of Free Agency Period

With all of the previous free agent signings being officially hashed out on July 12, the remainder of the free agents try to find new homes. Notable free agents like Al Harrington, Bonzi Wells, Chris Wilcox, Jared Jeffries and Drew Gooden remain team-less, while others have found new teams or remained with their previous squads.

This past week was far less exciting than the week prior, but it must have been a rush for players like Mike James and John Salmons to make headlines and earn long-term money. Now James and Salmons, along with other free agents, will settle in with their new teams.

The Minnesota Timberwolves sign Mike James

Synopsis: With the Raptors turning over a new leaf and focusing on developing young talent, it was clear that James was a stopgap that enabled the team to unload Rafer Alston?s contract and bad attitude. James had a breakout season in Toronto and instantly became one of basketball?s hottest free agent commodities.

Analysis: The Timberwolves add a player who will allow the Timberwolves to push for playoff contention, but nothing more and nothing less. He will add roughly 20 points-per-game and will probably get along well with Kevin Garnett, since both players are driven towards creating a winning environment. James went to Minnesota because they were willing to provide a long-term commitment, which was his top priority when it came to signing a new contract.

Conclusion: The signing will help the Timberwolves immediately, but does not make them a significantly better team all-around. James will give them a better chance of making it to the playoffs, but barring some sort of miracle, this Timberwolves team will not compete for a championship.

The Toronto Raptors trade a second round selection for John Salmons, who signs a 5-year $23 million deal

Synopsis: Some speculate that this is Colangelo?s Boris Diaw-type acquisition for the offseason, others view it as a lucrative, long-term contract for an unestablished and inconsistent player.

Analysis: Any way that you slice it, Salmons will be the Raptors? first option off the bench behind T.J. Ford at the point guard position and either Anthony Parker or Morris Peterson at the shooting guard spot. Salmons will give the Raptors some much-needed versatility and even more upside. With the ability to play three positions, Salmons will likely get upwards of 20 minutes of action per game.

Conclusion: The Raptors had cap space to use and they make use of it to sign a player who will either be a high risk/low yield signing or a steal. The sands of time will tell the story.

The Orlando Magic sign Keith Bogans

Synopsis: With the Magic needing a backcourt defensive presence, they sign Bogans and let DeShawn Stevenson look for work elsewhere.

Analysis: Bogans is an energy player who can enter a game and give opposing players headaches on both ends of the floor. With minutes, Bogans will make Magic fans forget that Stevenson existed with his hard work and grit.

Conclusion: The Magic fill a need with some free agent money and will give Bogans some solid minutes off of the bench to prove himself.

The Houston Rockets acquire Kirk Snyder for future considerations

Synopsis: One of the most pressing issues for the Rockets last season was a lack of depth and in acquiring Snyder for basically peanuts, they help alleviate the problem by adding an athletic scoring guard who enters his third NBA season.

Analysis: Snyder showed flashes of brilliance last year, but seeing that this is Snyder?s second time being traded for very little, it shows that his coaches may have problems reaching him. Jeff Van Gundy will teach him the fundamentals and if he adapts to them, rather than playing in his own renegade fashion, he will be setup for excellence in Houston.

Conclusion: The worst-case scenario is that Snyder does not pan out and even then, the Rockets lose nothing in the process.

The Toronto Raptors sign Anthony Parker for $12 million over three years

Synopsis: Bryan Colangelo has always been the sort of General Manager to seek out international talents and this time around, he brings in a two-time Euroleague MVP in Anthony Parker to add a scoring punch and team-oriented style to a nearly brand new Raptors team.

Analysis: The Raptors biggest hole after acquiring T.J. Ford and Rasho Nesterovic was the starting small forward or shooting guard position. With Morris Peterson occupying either of the two spots, Colangelo went out and signed Parker to manage the other. Parker, at age 31, will have the starting spot for a season or two and then make way for either Chris Bosh or Andrea Bargnani to take over at the small forward spot unless one of the two of them can adapt to playing center.

Conclusion: For the price that they paid, the decision must have been an easy one. Parker?s agent Henry Thomas told the media how hard Colangelo pursued Parker and that the decision was an easy one for both sides. The starting spot is Parker?s to lose, but given his sterling track record, it?s expected that he will excel in the NBA.

Grading The Deals: First Week Of Free Agency Period

After absorbing each signing and trade of the first week of the summer and giving it enough time to sink in, we are able to evaluate how each player signing will impact their respective team.

Report Cards From The 2006 Draft

The draft did not contain very many, if any, franchise players and it made for interesting results. There were several clear-cut winners and losers and RealGM will run down who they are and why in this year?s edition of NBA Draft report cards.

30 Days, 30 Teams: New York Knicks (20th Pick)

The Knicks could use a legitimate point guard and Jordan Farmar is just that. Farmar knows how to run a team, is a vocal leader, an above-average defender and knows how to compete for a winning team after his UCLA squad made it to the NCAA finals.

30 Days, 30 Teams: Sacramento Kings

he face of the Kings franchise is changing with the addition of Ron Artest this season and the hiring of Eric Musselman as coach. Rajon Rondo is an athletic, defensive-minded point guard on a team that is looking for defensive-minded players.

30 Days, 30 Teams: Washington Wizards

Unless the team encounters a player that really catches their eye, we think that the Wizards fully intend on going big in this draft. A big man who can do some dirty work inside on the offensive end would be a much needed asset to a team that generally contains defensive-minded big men like Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas.

30 Days, 30 Teams: Chicago Bulls (16th Pick)

The Bulls not only have the Knicks pick, but also their own and at this pick, they can afford to take a risk on a player who may not be that great yet, but will eventually be a solid pro. Most suppose that the Bulls will take a frontcourt player with their 2nd pick, but the team has not given any hints as to who they select.

The Winners And Losers Of Pre-Draft Camp Measurements

Every year, NBA Draft fanatics hold their breath in anticipation to see how prospective NBA draftees weigh in at the pre-draft camp. Stock may rise and fall when the results are revealed and RealGM gives you the winners and losers.

30 Days, 30 Teams: Utah Jazz

J.J. Redick would help stretch defenses and could come in and be a scoring option right away, which is something that he certainly desires. If the Jazz are thinking optimistic, he could become the Jeff Hornacek to Deron Williams' John Stockton.

30 Days, 30 Teams: Philadelphia 76ers

Are the Sixers coming or going? They could tip their plans on draft night. Randy Foye played nearby for 'Nova and is willing to do whatever it takes to win. A player with comparable heart to A.I. and one who can come in and play right away.

30 Days, 30 Teams: Houston Rockets

The player that gets selected at number 8 by the Houston Rockets will likely experience playoff basketball in his rookie season. Rodney Carney can play either the 2 or 3 spot and has the ability to drive and create for McGrady or Ming.

30 Days, 30 Teams: Boston Celtics

The Celtics' weakest positions are center and point guard and Patrick O'Bryant is a big body to fill the team out up front alongside Al Jefferson. With the Celtics having Kedrick Perkins, O'Bryant would not need to develop immediately.

30 Days, 30 Teams: Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have the good fortune of holding the number two pick in a draft without a clear number one player. Tyrus Thomas, if he's drafted second would come into a team that has been in the playoffs each of the past two seasons and without the weight of being anointed franchise savior.

30 Days, 30 Teams: Toronto Raptors

There are now 30 days until the 2006 NBA Draft, so each day from here on out, RealGM will profile every team and provide information on team needs, the most suitable prospects, along with their best and worst case scenarios. Today, the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors Must Select the Best Player Available

Raptors fans are already weighing in on who the club should select with the number one pick in the 2006 Draft, but the pick is not for the fans to decide, it?s at the discretion of the GM. Not just any GM, but one who has selected Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion in his stellar draft history.

Babcock Firing Is Premature

Rob Babcock was not Scott Layden; he had a plan, he had support and he knew what direction he wanted to take his team. Unfortunately, Babcock?s firing was a case of too little too late.

Top Rookies In The Draft Wave Red Flags

The first five picks of the 2005 Draft are all but set. All of the five have showcased skills unique from one another; however all of them have their potential flaws that can prevent them from excelling at the next level.

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