To the dismay of Raptors general manager Rob Babcock, the team's search for a third point guard will continue.
As expected, the Chicago Bulls yesterday matched the offer point guard Chris Duhon signed with the Raptors last week. The Bulls had until yesterday to make their decision and they opted to shell out $9.07 million US over three years to keep Duhon in Chicago.
"We definitely want to have three point guards on the team," Babcock said yesterday. "That's important to have for any team, it's such a crucial position on the team."
Babcock acknowledged last week the team's chances of holding on to Duhon were small. But it was a no-risk move for the Raptors, who ended up driving up the price of Duhon for an Eastern rival.
Duhon wouldn't have been totally disappointed if he had to leave the Baby Bulls and play for the struggling Raptors.
"I thought about it after I talked to Mr. Babcock," Duhon told the Daily Herald in Illinois. We had a serious conversation about me going out there and playing. I know what they have, how much talent they have. It was something I would have taken as a challenge to turn around that team like the Bulls did last year."
But Duhon clearly wanted to stay with the Bulls.
"It's good news and I'm excited about it," he said. "I can start moving forward and getting ready for next year."
With Rafer Alston and Spanish rookie Jose Calderon as their only point guards under contract, the Raptors will be on the prowl for another player to play that position. One theory has the Raptors trying to land another Bulls restricted free agent, Jannero Pargo, who played five games for Toronto in 2003-04.
"(Pargo) is a good backup player," Babcock said. "He's somebody we've studied."
Babcock continues to insist the team wants to re-sign restricted free agent forward Matt Bonner, along with another point guard. If the Bulls hadn't matched the offer for Duhon, the Raptors wouldn't have had enough money to sign Bonner.
In other news, as expected, the Raptors yesterday took advantage of the league's one-time amnesty clause and waived Alonzo Mourning. The move gives the Raptors a little more financial flexibility under the luxury tax, although they still have to pay Mourning what they owe him and his contract still counts on the salary cap for the next two years.
Interestingly, the New York Knicks used the same clause to waive ex-Raptor Jerome (Junk Yard Dog) Williams yesterday. Would the Raptors be interested in bringing JYD back?
"Right now, we're pretty loaded at that spot, especially (because the Raptors) are trying to re-sign Matt Bonner at that spot," Babcock said.