did four years ago when they netted James, Bosh and Wade.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:45 am    Post subject: did four years ago when they netted James, Bosh and Wade. Reply with quote

LOS ANGELES - On a night that seemed destined to belong to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, it was the Toronto Raptors and their first-year general manager that stole the show. With only 11 players in uniform, just eight of which got into the game, the Raptors spoiled Bryants disappointing season debut just hours after Masai Ujiri pulled off a franchise-altering move. "I really applaud our players for the fact they came in and banded together," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said following a 106-94 victory in the aftermath of Sunday evenings trade that sent Rudy Gay to Sacramento in a seven-player swap. Set to board the team bus and make his way over to Staples Center, Gay was told to hang back at the hotel. He had been dealt. He was shocked. So too were Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy - who are alsoNew heading to the Kings in the deal - and the rest of their teammates, most of whom found out about the transaction upon arriving at the arena. As Toronto said goodbye to its best, or at least highest paid player, the Lakers welcomed theirs back. Nearly eight months after tearing his left Achilles, Bryant returned to the court, scoring just nine points and committing eight turnovers in 28 minutes of action. Without Gay, along with Gray, Acy and Tyler Hansbrough - who sat out with a sprained left shoulder - the Raptors led wire-to-wire and snapped a five-game losing streak, playing some of their best and most inspired basketball of the season. "Like I told the team," Casey said, "thats the way were going to play, no matter who is in uniform." "Were going to continue to play that way or theyre not going to continue to play. Thats the way its got to be. No disrespect to anyone but we have to play as a unit to be successful." In the absence of Gay - who was taking a career-most 18.6 shots per game while shooting a career-worst 29 per cent - the Raptors offence looked more diverse and cohesive. Toronto registered 19 assists as a team and 13 from the backcourt tandem of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan while California-native Amir Johnson led the way with a career-best 32 points on an efficient 14-of-17 from the field. "Tonights winning helps lift the cloud," Casey insisted, unable to comment directly on the trade until its made official following a conference call with the league on Monday. "Everyones talking about Kobe coming back and the trade but our guys had what you have to have; a discipline." "I told our guys, no matter what happened or whats in the paper or in the media, we have to be disciplined and focused on what weve got to do, our jobs here. We cant control whos in uniform, whos traded." Gray took the news in stride, learning about the deal during his pre-game workout at the arena. The veteran - who turned 27 on Saturday - finished his workout and had a smile on his face as he cracked jokes and bid his teammates farewell in the visitors locker room. Acy, 23, was more emotional after being traded for the first time, by the only team hes known in his professional career. "Big thank you to the Toronto Raptors organization for drafting me and giving me a chance," he tweeted Sunday night. "Imma miss everything about the city and the fans and the organization as a whole, thanks for helping mold me." "It was kind of a bit emotional," Johnson said, comparing it to the day Gay was acquired nearly 10 months prior, when the Raptors said goodbye to Jose Calderon and Ed Davis prior to a game in Atlanta. Johnson spoke with Gay over the phone, thanking him for everything he gave the team and the city during his brief tenure in Toronto. Lowry, his best friend, exchanged texts with him throughout the evening. "It was difficult, especially for me," said Lowry, Gay being the godfather of his son. "At the end of the day its a business and we have to move on. Hes still going to be my boy. Hes still going to be everyone on this teams boy." "We had to block it out and just play." Although the Raptors say goodbye to their most talented player, they may be a better team - in both the short and long term - because of it. Less, sometimes is more, evident in their win on Sunday. Without Gay - an inefficient, high-volume scorer - there are more shots to be distributed amongst more efficient players, the ball doesnt stick nearly as much and the team can focus on the continued development of DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross. The addition of Greivis Vasquez, however temporary it proves to be, should help in the development of those players, specifically Valanciunas. Vasquez, 26, finished second in most improved player voting last season after breaking out in New Orleans and fills a current need at the backup point guard position, also making Lowry expendable in a subsequent trade. John Salmons, 33, will become the oldest player on the Raptors roster. He may or may not report and if he does he may or may not play. Patterson, 24, a stretch-four and Hayes, 30, a hard-nosed rebounder are both serviceable but more than anything else the deal was made to give the Raptors much-needed cap flexibility. In one fell swoop Ujiri turned one gargantuan contract - believed to be untradeable - into four far more manageable deals. Toronto can save roughly $14.5 million for next season. While Hayes will be under contract, making $5.9 million next season, Salmons has a $1.0 million buy-out option on a non-guaranteed $7.0 million deal and Vasquez, along with Patterson could become free agents if the Raptors pull their qualifying offers. "I believe in Masai, hes big time," Casey said after the game. "Hes shown it, hes done some great things. He knows talent, hes a salesman, so I believe in him." Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Jersey . Last year, Islanders forward Colin Mcdonald released a "Do It For Colin" campaign to promote his teammate and friend John Tavares for the EA sports honour:The most popular sports voting video ever has to go to Chris Bosh who showcased his comedic abilities in his effort to get fans to vote him into the 2008 All Star Game:You can vote for TJ and other star players for the NHL 15 cover vote here. D. J. Wilson Jersey . New York City FC introduced Frank Lampard in Brooklyn on Thursday after signing the 36-year-old former Chelsea midfielder to a two-year contract. http://www.nbabucksproshop.com/Authentic-Rashad-Vaughn-Bucks-Jersey/. That time around, the cage is as much a part of baseballs daily routine as a beer and a hotdog is to a fan in the stands. Coaches, scouts, broadcasters and other media hover, tossing verbal barbs, telling stories and sharing laughs. Occasionally, especially in spring when the atmosphere is relatively laid back, the list of invited guests expands and on this day, Gibbons welcomed two men strongly influential in his life. Giannis Antetokounmpo Jersey .com) - The Calgary Flames were again involved in a game in which a team was held scoreless, only this time they came out on the winning side. Vin Baker Jersey . -- Jose Bautista never worries about hitting homers during the regular season.MIAMI -- Pat Riley walked into the room to begin his end-of-season availability annoyed, and armed with history. There have been franchises that have enjoyed prolonged runs of greatness during his 45 years as a player, coach and executive in the NBA -- the Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, Spurs and his Miami Heat among them -- and Thursday Riley pointed out each shares a trait. They all lost sometime. "I think everybody," the Heat president said moments after smacking the table to begin the news conference, "needs to get a grip." With that, Riley was off and running on a message-sending session that lasted nearly an hour. No players were there, but they surely heard his themes: He saw his teams mental fatigue during the year, but doesnt accept it; he isnt willing to let Miami fall from the ranks of the NBA elite, and the organization will do what it can to keep LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade together. "We have a tremendous opportunity here for long-term success," Riley said. "Dont think were not going to get beat again, so just get a grip, everybody. Thats my message. Its my message to the players, also." It was one of his many messages. Riley, who gets a reported $75,000 when hired to deliver motivational speeches, worked in anecdotes on everything from sipping Johnnie Walker Blue to playing James Ingram records to how even at 69 years old he still finds himself dreaming big. He was speaking with reporters, but clearly talking to players through the cameras. "Youve got to stay together, if youve got the guts," Riley said. "You dont find the first door and run out of it if you have an opportunity. This is four years now into this era, this team. Four finals -- its only been done three other times before -- and two championships. From day one to the end, it was like a Broadway show. It sort of ran out of steam. And we need to retool. We dont need to rebuild." How to retool is the question, but the answer isnt up to Riley yet. James, Bosh and Wade all need to decide if theyre going to opt out of their contracts, a choice that was probably going to be complicated even if the Heat hadnt lost the NBA Finals to San Antonio, ending Miamis two-year reign as leaague champions.dddddddddddd. From those decisions, Heat free-agents-to-be -- Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, Chris Andersen and others -- may start charting their futures. Players from other teams will listen as well. Then Riley and the Heat spring into action on July 1, just as they did four years ago when they netted James, Bosh and Wade. Other than Norris Cole, no Heat player currently is locked into a fully guaranteed deal for next season. But Riley doesnt feel the Heat need to recruit current players again. "Were prepared," Riley said. "Weve got the main-themed book all written up and its dependent on whatever the scenario were presented with on July 1. Weve got a lot of room for flexibility. Theres a tremendous amount of flexibility depending on what happens. So were ready." He offered plenty of perspective on Thursday, about how he still feels like he choked away what should have been a title for the Lakers team he coached in 1984, but how they roared back with three titles in the next four seasons. He even referenced how San Antonio got much better this season after seeing a title in 2013 get taken away by Miami in dramatic fashion. "What happened last year with San Antonio? Did they run? They faced it," Riley said. "They faced it and they came back, and we saw the result. Well find out what were made of here. Its not about options. Its not about free agency. Its not about anything. Its about what we have built over four years here." Among Rileys more impassioned defences was the one of Wade, who was widely criticized for both missing 28 games in the regular season -- mainly part of a maintenance program laid out by the team -- and for struggling in Games 4 and 5 of the NBA Finals. "For the last 10 years, this has been a Dwyane Wade-driven thing," Riley said. "Now does he have to reinvent himself a little bit? Absolutely." Riley can only hope that reinvention is in Miami, and that James and Bosh are there as well. "Im an Irish guy who believes in big dreams," Riley said. "Im optimistic. Until thats proven different, I just have a level of optimism that there isnt a better place for players to be than Miami." 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