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· duke of new york, a#1
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All the talk about James lately has even reached him. He's getting pretty defensive with the media. There seems that there aren't many people on the fence concerning re-signing him. Some think he is an on-floor cancer, selfish and stubborn. Some think he is a leader who means more to the team than he gets credit for.

The biggest problem is that he is positioning himself for a contract most of us think he isn't worth. Something in the $6-8M/year range. Raptors fans remember what happened with Rafer Alston and Alvin Williams and don't want to overpay a point guard who's playing style isn't exactly what we need--whether that is the case or not is another debate.

What I'm wondering is which other team out there is willing to give James the contract he and his agent are seeking?

Most NBA teams are able to offer a MLE-level contract this summer. That's a starting salary of around $5M with 8% raises (the most a capped-out team can offer him outright). There are probably a handful of teams that would be willing to give him that. But he's after more, maybe rightfully so.

My last count had there being just six NBA teams other than us with significant cap space:

- Atlanta
- Chicago
- Charlotte
- New Orleans
- Utah
- LA Clippers

Atlanta needs a point guard, but they have a young team. They don't want to be paying a 35-year old point guard in excess of eight or nine million when the rest of the team is only starting to enter their prime, IMO. I think they would probably look in a different direction but James might be a good acquisition for them so it's not unthinkable.

Chicago is not in the market for a 30-ish point guard. Hinrich and Duhon are the future for that position in Chitown. Ben Gordon's presence negates the need for a combo scoring guard. The team is locked into a nonstop youth movement right now. If they want to upgrade their guard position I think they can easily swing a trade using one of their two first rounders this year. Chicago remains one of the mostly likely destinations for KG if he is traded, but Hinrich is untouchable.

Charlotte is stacked at the guard position with Felton and Knight but I don't have a clue as to what they might go after this summer. They really need an off-guard who can create for himself to put beside defensive stalwart Gerald Wallace. And they need a centre. A player like James is very low on their priority list, IMO. Still, I don't know what they will do.

New Orleans/Oklahoma City begins and ends with Chris Paul. Speedy Claxton will be on the market this summer but I think he will stay with the Hornets, giving them a solid guard rotation. They've played themselves out of a good pick this year so they will be active on the free agent market. They are weak at every position but PG. They really need size so I think an athlete like Nene might be on their wishlist. All things considered I don't think James would figure into their plans.

Utah will have Deron Williams and Keith McLeod running the point again next season. I think a player like James would be a good fit with them because they need a shooter but they haven't got a lot of cap space. They might opt to re-sign Matt Harpring instead of looking for someone elses player on the market. I also don't know if Mike James is a Jerry Sloan kind of player.

The LA Clippers face a similar situation to ours: they have Sam Cassell's deal expiring. Sam wants a retirement fund with his next contract. Letting ET go and signing James wouldn't make much sense for them considering the difference in salary might only be a million or two a year. They also have Radman expiring, though. Their awkward cap position (they are about $7M under for next year) will give them complications signing both of their RFA's if they choose to do so.

So I guess my theory is that no matter what Mike James wants, he'll get what we want to pay him (if we want to keep him). He's not in a position to force a sign-and-trade. I don't think there will be another team trying to steal him from us if he insists on getting more than the MLE. Atlanta would be the prime contender for his services, IMO, but how interested they will be (if at all) is unknown.
 

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speedythief said:
So I guess my theory is that no matter what Mike James wants, he'll get what we want to pay him (if we want to keep him). He's not in a position to force a sign-and-trade. I don't think there will be another team trying to steal him from us if he insists on getting more than the MLE. Atlanta would be the prime contender for his services, IMO, but how interested they will be (if at all) is unknown.
I just hope the MJ or his agent don't say something they can't take back. If you make it public that you want $8 million a year, it makes it, well demeaning isn't the right word but maybe humbling to take a lesser offer.

I'd pay MJ $8 million for one year. Then use Mao's and BC's hookups to bring Roko over :biggrin: .
 

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Great post Speedy,
I agree, that noone is going to be willing or able to give him more than the MLE. My worry is that the guy is going to pretty sour about not getting 'his' next year and his play might be affected by this. What will he have to prove next year? The contract he signs will be his last and he'll be playing for a lot less than he feels he is worth. This is great motivation when playing for a new contract but could become a real negative knowing it's your last contract.
 

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Team Mao said:
Great post Speedy,
I agree, that noone is going to be willing or able to give him more than the MLE. My worry is that the guy is going to pretty sour about not getting 'his' next year and his play might be affected by this. What will he have to prove next year? The contract he signs will be his last and he'll be playing for a lot less than he feels he is worth. This is great motivation when playing for a new contract but could become a real negative knowing it's your last contract.
lol. I say that if we really need/want to sign him, we sign him to one year contracts so that he's always going to be playing for a new contract. :D
 

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If other GMs are listening to what MJ is saying in the papers then that is only going to help the Raptors re-sign him. MJ is killing himself with this crap.

I don't see too many teams taking a big run at him. But it is a weak FA year and the guy does produce and bring it every night. I could see Minnesota being interested. The Lakers might be looking for a legit 2nd scoring option that bumps Odom to 3rd option where he is more comfortable. And the Clippers situation is very interesting. Do they give Cassel a huge contract at his age, or give MJ a smaller contract? Numbers are pretty identical in points, assists, and turns.

The Knicks are rumoured to want every player in the league so I can't take them seriously. Especially with all the guards they have to move.

MJ is looking at the MLE or less I think. Its the 5th year that is the big issue to me. Not the extra 1 mill of salary each year - that's nothing. Whether you start him at 5 mill or 6 mill is no big deal. By year 4 he will be earning 7-8+ anyway with raises.

Use the cap space on a starting C and/or wing scorer, then sign James with the full MLE for 4 years.
 

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Earl Watson only got the MLE last year. I don't see why James should get much more. No other team other than Atlanta can even offer him the starting position (and he should be the type of guard they're looking for either).
 

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I don't think that the yearly salary will make the difference for where MJ will sign, IMO it will come down to what team is willing to lock him up the longest. He's clearly going for his last significant contract and will be looking for 3-4 years of guaranteed money.

This is exactly why I believe BC will not be interested, he might offer a 2-3 year contract, but I predict that extra year will make all the difference for MJ
 

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I can see Atlanta being interested in MJ. Their team is SO young.. their roster's average age is 23. They could use a veteran guy like MJ (not too mention a starting point guard). JJ can make up for James' lack of playmaking ability. I think he would be a good fit there.

C Zaza Pachulia
F Marvin Williams
F Josh Smith
G Joe Johnson
G Mike James

And they still have Lue, Childress, and a top 3 pick off the bench. Not to mention another FA or two.
 

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Something to consider:

If we do a sign and trade with Mike for say 4 yrs @ 6mil to another team, that team gets to maintain their MLE.

This is something that works in our favour. Even if the deal is for the MLE rate, being able to maintain their MLE via a S&T very valuable thing. Given our trade exception and caproom, we will be able to take back more salary than we give before or after we make a separate signing.

I'm sure that BC is or has scoured the rosters for players he likes that make 5-8 million for this eventuality.

I'll throw this at you:

Milwaukee know MJ and other than TJ who is injury prone, don't have much for the 1 or 1 1/2.

Is Mags going to re-sign? Do they want to pay him the big dough? Work it this way.

Talk it over with MIL first, then go to NO/OK and see if they want to move up.

Trade Raps 1st for MIL 1st and NO 1st.

Draft for MIL and flip the rights plus a S&T MJ for Mags. MIL traded that mid pick plus a wing who is expiring next year for him, so given they'd lose him, this is pretty solid value back for Mags after a year with him.

This leaves the Raps' with a core team of:

Mags
Bosh
CV
Mo
???

Bench
Calderon
Graham
 
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