Raptors planning to cool things off

STEVE BUFFERY and RYAN WOLSTAT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

There was speculation yesterday that Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell gave his troops the day off as a means to cool everyone off.

The locker room has been an emotional war zone lately with players sniping and demanding trades.

Mitchell decided early on Wednesday, prior to the game against the Milwaukee Bucks, to give the guys the day off, although it isn't sure whether his motivation was to give the team a rest or the chance to regroup mentally.

Meanwhile, veteran forward Donyell Marshall pleaded for some sanity after Wednesday's 110-107 loss to the visiting Bucks, the club's third loss in a row, pointing out that the Raptors are still only five games out of a playoff spot in the weak Atlantic Division, with 32 games remaining.

"Anything can happen," Marshall said. "Our division is not that powerful. As long as you stay within 4-5 games, until there's 4-5 games left, you're always in it. We get a break next week (all-star weekend, Feb.18-20), hopefully we can come back strong and turn the corner."

AROUND THE RIM

ESPN has listed what it considers the most overpaid players in the NBA and the Raptors' Jalen Rose ($14.5 million US) was listed at No.9, with this explanation by writer Jeff Merron: "The Raptors are losers both with and without him, meaning that their highest paid player -- he makes $9 million more than any other Raptor -- is a money pit." Former Raptor Antonio Davis ($12.9) was No.7. The most overpaid in Merron's opinion, is Latrell (Have to Feed My Family) Sprewell ... The New York Knicks are expected to push the Raptors to deal Marshall with the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaching.


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