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  Tue, December 23, 2003


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The Last Word
There's no disputing Glen Grunwald's most-recent trade was big. There's also no doubt that his next one better be his best.

By MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun

Merry Christmas, Glen Grunwald.

The Raptors general manager is about to undertake the toughest, most vital trade of his career in the final year of his contract.

These are the names the Raptors GM knows by heart.

Theo Ratliff, Atlanta Hawks. Athletic, with an untapped offensive side, 3.2 blocks per game and the enmity of interim coach Terry Stotz for showing up late for a game.

Nazr Mohammed, also of the Hawks. Similar to Ratliff, he has a history of foot problems.

Scot Pollard, a 6-foot-11, 265-pound centre who has little touch but likes to bang, is riding the pine in Indiana.

The Seattle SuperSonics are overrun with big men. Vitaly Potapenko, 7-foot-1 Jerome James and Calvin Booth are rotating in and out of the middle.

The Los Angeles Clippers would probably part with Predrag Drobnjak, a plodding big man who has averaged 8.4 points and nearly six rebounds in limited minutes.

There is high profile talent in New York with Othella Harrington and, if new president and general manager Isiah Thomas can't convince him to stay, Kurt Thomas.

Grunwald has thin gruel to peddle in return for size.

Morris Peterson is wildly inconsistent. Lamond Murray has been a flop. Michael Bradley ... puh-lease.

Grunwald has already made the easy deal, and it was a good one. He swapped Antonio Davis, perhaps the world's highest paid unhappy player for Jalen Rose, who, now that I think of it, would be in the running as well.

GOOD NEWS

The good news: If the team with the best player gets the trade, the Raptors are hands-down victors.

The bad news: That player hasn't been Rose.

Rose has been exactly as advertised, a nice talent who doesn't defend regularly and whose shot largely has gone south.

Rose's numbers are eerily similar to the ones he posted with the Bulls, which isn't so good since Toronto was supposed to be a fresh start. Chicago had been trying to unload him for two years. Methinks we are starting to know why.

Rose averaged 33 minutes a night with the Bulls. That has been bumped to nearly 40 with the Raps. His assist totals have improved with the shift to point guard, from 3.7 a night as a Bull to 6.6 as a Rap, but he has flatlined point-wise. His 13.5 points in Toronto are but half a point better than his average in Chicago. He is a nice enough player but with him at the point, the Raps have shown themselves willing to revert to what you would politely call a perimeter offence.

At 6-foot-8, Rose can be beaten off the dribble by faster point guards. His point total shows his height advantage hasn't translated into copious open looks.

Another side effect to the deal: The Raps have missed Michael Curry's defensive presence on the floor. Curry's minutes have been cut from 18 a night in the month before the trade to 11.5 in December.

A FIND

Donyell Marshall has been a find. He is even money for a 20-point night, he works hard and rebounds. The only hitch with Donyell Marshall is that he isn't seven feet tall.

With rookie Chris Bosh still getting his feet wet and Lonny Baxter attracting fouls like a pig farm draws flies, the Raptors have no meaningful chance of beating a team with any kind of inside presence. The only reason Tim Duncan didn't score more than 30 against Toronto last week is that his arms got tired.

The Raptors will toddle into the holidays all glitter and no gold. They are one trade removed from being awful, and another removed from being good.

This is where the rubber meets the road for Glen Grunwald. He has odds and ends to barter. He has a franchise player in Vince Carter, perhaps a future one in Bosh, and a whole lot of fake chrome.

He has one more trade to make. It will have to be his best.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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