Marshall plans to stay

Chris Bosh puts the grab on teammate Donyell Marshall yesterday. Marshall says he expects to remain...

Chris Bosh puts the grab on teammate Donyell Marshall yesterday. Marshall says he expects to remain with the Raptors after the NBA trade deadline passes at 3 p.m. today. (Toronto Sun/Veronica Henri)

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

Donyell Marshall does not think he has played his final game in a Raptors uniform.

"The way things are right now, it doesn't sound too serious," the Raptors forward said yesterday when asked if he expects to be dealt before the NBA trade deadline at 3 p.m. today.

"I think it's just talk right now. I haven't heard anything different. Obviously, you hear your name out there, but I don't think there's anything really serious right now."

The 6-foot-9 Marshall, an attractive commodity because of his size, his good shooting range and the fact he becomes a free-agent at season's end, has been the subject of countless trade rumours.

But there is speculation the Raptors (22-32) will not be active at the deadline. Two prospective deals with the Indiana Pacers for Marshall -- one that would bring Austin Croshere, James Jones and Anthony Johnson here and the other that would send Scot Pollard this way -- have been discussed, but the Raptors are believed to have financial concerns about a potential trade. Raptors general manager Rob Babcock isn't wild about inheriting long-term contracts just for the sake of getting something for Marshall, who probably will not re-sign with Toronto.

"Most of the offers we have had for (Marshall) have been offers where we have to bring back a player who's got three to five years left on his contract and who is maybe a little younger than Donyell, but not as good a player," Babcock said. "That's not something that makes sense for us in the future."

Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird seemed to hint that chances for a deal are slim.

"I like Donyell," Bird told the Indianapolis Star last night. "I've liked him since college. But the one thing with Donyell, he does come off their cap next summer. If they're going to move him it will have to be for something they really like. We're not in this business to give up multiple players for somebody coming off the cap. You'd have him for 30 games. Then would we be able to re-sign him? Probably not."

Meanwhile, Babcock doesn't seem eager to trade forward Eric Williams, who continues to express displeasure with his limited minutes.

"He has worked hard and I think he's going to be an integral part of this team," Babcock said.

But Williams' agent, Mark Bartelstein, wasn't ready to dismiss the possibility of a deal.

"There is a lot of talk going on and a lot of people would love to get him, but things are up in the air," said Bartelstein, who chatted with Babcock yesterday.

Babcock said chances are less than 50-50 that he will make a move today. Long-term vision, he said, is a priority.

"Any trade we would make would be geared to improving our team for the future, which is much more important than getting us to the playoffs this year," Babcock said.

WHEELS IN MOTION

Of course, all it takes is one phone call to put the trade wheels in motion. So even though it appears the Raptors could be silent, things could change before the deadline.

"My gut feeling, to be honest, is for the most part we may stand pat," Raptors guard/forward Jalen Rose said. "But who am I? In the next 24 hours, everything in the league can happen."


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