Note to GM: Don't limit flexibility

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

There is a strong chance the Raptors will not make any trades today.

That's not to rule out the possibility. You know how these things go.

A large number of NBA teams have made lame offers for Raptors forward Donyell Marshall. Somehow these teams got the impression the Raptors might be fooled into giving up something for nothing.

Now where, pray tell, would they get such an idea?

Anyway, some clubs may up the ante today as the league deadline approaches at 3 p.m. But as of last night nothing yet had tickled the fancy of Raptors general manager Rob Babcock, who to this point is known as the man who traded Vince Carter for three barely warm bodies and a couple of long-shot draft picks.

If Marshall sticks obviously he won't be thrilled, although he is too much of a professional to make a stink about it. After all, he would have to endure only a few more months in a Raptors uniform, since he will be a free agent in the summer and the chances of him re-signing in Toronto virtually are nil.

Marshall would like to be on a playoff team this spring, but the odd fact remains the Raptors still aren't completely out of the running.

The Raptors would save some cash if they allowed Marshall's contract to run out. But it wouldn't be enough to get them under the salary cap, so it's not as if they could take Marshall's $5.3-million US slot and sign another player.

So why would the Raptors let Marshall go this summer, essentially for nothing?

Well, losing him for nothing would be better than losing him for something bad. Complicated, but logical, if you think about it.

In the short term, Marshall can continue to help the Raptors right now. Plus, the last thing the Raptors want to do is take on a questionable contract, especially with the collective bargaining agreement expiring and the financial parameters for next season up in the air.

If the Raptors can get, say, a young big man who is under contract for a reasonable price in exchange for Marshall, then fine. But otherwise, maybe the best move here will be the one the Raptors don't make.

Besides Marshall, the Raptors' list of tradable commodities is quite small.

Chris Bosh is untouchable.

The Raptors really don't want to trade Jalen Rose at this point. How can they?

First of all, many teams will be scared off by his rich contract. But second of all, and more importantly, he has re-emerged as a clutch player -- as evidenced most recently by his stellar performance in the Raptors' win over Carter and the Nets on Tuesday in New Jersey -- and as a Toronto fan favourite.

Sources indicated the Raptors essentially took Rose off the market more than a month ago, keeping in mind he still could be traded if the perfect deal presented itself.

The Raptors like Morris Peterson. If they didn't, they wouldn't have matched the rich contract offer he received from the New Orleans Hornets last summer.

Rafer Alston's volatility is an issue for most suitors, and the Raptors aren't ready to give up on him anyway.

No one wants Eric Williams, Aaron Williams, Lamond Murray or Loren Woods, except as throw-ins.

Matt Bonner, Rafael Araujo and Pape Sow are rookie projects and the jury still is out, especially with the latter two.

Milt Palacio is tradable in theory, but not unless the Raptors get a point man in return. Besides Alston and Palacio, the Raptors' only other point guard is Alvin Williams, who is coming off serious knee surgery.

That leaves Marshall.

But here's a strong suggestion for Babcock: Don't do anything that limits your flexibility down the road. Time and time again, this franchise has been hogtied by contractual over-commitment.

Don't rush into anything, Rob. We all know what happened the last time you did that.


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