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  Sun, June 20, 2004


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Trading Vince an easy call
The hardest part, writes Steve Simmons, would be in finding the right deal
By STEVE SIMMONS, TORONTO SUN

VINCE CARTER has to go. There is no real argument anymore. The very fact that Carter did not respond to telephone messages left by new Raptors general manager Rob Babcock is reason enough why he must be traded.

You can't play for a franchise and run it at the same time. You can't determine who plays and who coaches and who runs the team -- not when you're paid to be the star and you don't even embrace it. You can't ignore your employers and foster insubordination.

The difficulty won't be in determining what Babcock has to do but in finding the kind of deal out there that makes sense for the Raptors. Carter's reputation around the NBA has taken a terrible pounding in recent years. Just what the Raptors can get for him is not yet apparent.

But with the NBA draft this Thursday and the Raptors trying to find a coach and a kid to pick, finding a new home for Carter only complicates matters.

Still, it's obvious it has to be done.

THIS AND THAT

This is when you know that competition for hockey news is out of control in this country: Three different networks claimed this week to be the first to report the Maple Leafs signing of defenceman Ken Klee. Can we all take a deep breath and find some perspective. This is Ken Klee we're talking about ... All free agents, all more intriguing in another lifetime: Paul Kariya, Brett Hull, Teemu Selanne, Mark Messier, Eric Lindros ... Complaints are everywhere that there is too much defence, too little scoring, not enough creativity and no great players in the game. Not in the NHL. In the NBA ... Carolina picked up a good one cheaply in Anaheim goaltender Martin Gerber. Some Ducks people will tell you they think Gerber is every bit the goaltender J-S Giguere is. The Leafs could have had Gerber for a second-round pick but passed ... There are 94 soccer nations ahead of Canada in the world rankings and even when I really concentrate, I can't come up with more than 92 of them.

SCENE AND HEARD

A year ago, the Blue Jays had two MVP candidates, a Cy Young winner and three all-stars. This year, not a thing ... Barry Bonds said publicly what many athletes have said privately over the years about Boston ... With Carlos Delgado and Vernon Wells both injured, there is a distinct possibility that not a single Jays batter will hit 20 home runs this season ... If the stories out of Orlando are true, Tracy McGrady was missing practices, alienating teammates, playing selfishly and was being coddled by management -- and now has decided he wants out. Wonder who he's related to? ... This is so WHA: The league hasn't even started and already two franchises have bailed ... Does John Ferguson Jr. know how absolutely foolish he sounds when he makes himself available for radio interviews? If he isn't going to answer any questions, why bother? Ferguson's say-nothing act will play nicely so long as the Leafs stay near the top of the NHL standings. You watch how quickly people will turn on him if the team goes badly.

BITS AND BITES

Get well, Tom Cheek. There are few constants in our sporting world and we consider you one of them ... Coach Phil Jackson emulated his team not long after losing in the NBA final. He quit also ... The shocking dominance of the Detroit Pistons in the NBA final was reminiscent of New Jersey's first Stanley Cup win when they swept the heavily favoured Red Wings with almost as much ease in 1995 .... The WBC was morally bankrupt long before it filed for bankruptcy protection Friday in court. Boxing is about three bankruptcies away from being credible again ... So there's IOC president Jacques Rogge questioning the people Marion Jones has chosen to hang with. This from a guy who learned from Juan Antonio Samaranch and watched one of his South Korean colleagues head off to the crowbar hotel recently ... Bud Selig doesn't get it and now David Stern doesn't get it. If you start championship games too late, you shut out the kids, your future audience. Said Stern, when asked about the late-starts: "Put the kids to bed, then watch the game."

AND ANOTHER THING

Smarty Jones' jockey, Stewart Elliott, got famous and did what a lot of famous people do. He dumped his agent. He said the decision was mutual. Said his agent, Ray Lopez: "You win the Super Bowl, you get fired? I really don't know why ... I was there for him. We went to the major leagues and I was with him every step of the way." ... Can someone please explain why David Duval was so pleased with himself by shooting 83-82 at the U.S. Open? He was a star in the '90s and maybe he was expecting to shoot his decade ... Up next for the Leafs: Finding a way to get younger and quicker while keeping Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Roberts and Ed Belfour around ... The silence tells you this much: The Leafs aren't really interested in re-upping Bryan Marchment ... If you're John Muckler and you were quoted as saying you would re-sign Peter Bondra, do you stick to your word even after Bondra all but abandoned your Ottawa Senators in the playoffs? ... And hey, whatever became of Tank Landry?









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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