Raps had interest in Jazz

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:04 AM ET

Technically it's true, but it is outdated.

That was the reaction from Raptors general manager Rob Babcock yesterday when asked about a report in a Utah newspaper that his team is interested in Jazz guard Keith McLeod.

"We can't get him unless he suddenly turns into a minimum-salary guy," Babcock said yesterday on the phone from Minnesota. "And regardless, I'm sure Utah wants to keep him.

"We had expressed some interest in him, sure. I'm not trying to hide anything. We spoke with his agent. But he falls directly into that category where we determined we don't have enough money left to make a serious bid."

This all relates back to the Raptors' decision-making process in the wake of their unsuccessful attempt to nab Chicago Bulls guard Chris Duhon.

The Bulls kept Duhon by matching the Raptors' offer.

In The Toronto Sun on Aug. 22, Babcock was quoted as saying that after Duhon got away, the club determined most of the other free-agent guards on the market were asking for too much money. So the Raptors opted to re-sign forward Matt Bonner, and concluded they likely will go with a minimum-salary player as the third point guard to back up Rafer Alston and Jose Calderon, barring a trade.

A story in The Deseret Morning News yesterday linked the Raptors with the 25-year-old, 6-foot-2 McLeod, who averaged 7.8 points and 4.5 assists in 53 games (47 starts) with the Jazz last season.

Babcock said the McLeod angle is a weeks-old notion that became monetarily obsolete when Bonner re-signed.

"We still have some trades we're pursuing with regard to balancing our roster," said Babcock, who has admitted he might not have a third point guard until just prior to training camp.

DOWN TO THE WIRE

"We would like to get something done far sooner than that, but we're willing to go right down to the wire if we have to."

The Raptors have the maximum 15 players under contract, so the addition of a third point guard would require the expulsion of someone else -- likely a veteran forward -- through a buyout.

"There is a good chance of that," Babcock said.

"But those things usually work themselves out during training camp."


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