Jackson, Baston on Raps' bubble

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

Luke Jackson better show up in a big way in the final two pre-season games, or he'll be shown the door.

That is not the official word from the Raptors organization, but with the club one player over the regular-season limit, Jackson appears to be the odd man out.

Oct. 29 is the deadline for NBA teams to cut rosters to 15 players, and the Raptors are currently carrying 16. Jackson, who plays mostly at the small forward position, has played in three of five pre-season games and has averaged only 9.11 minutes, along with 1.67 points, and is shooting 2-for-7 from the floor.

Unless he gets considerable minutes in the club's final two pre-season games, Thursday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Friday against the Washington Wizards, it's likely he will be released. Not that he has been the only player to have struggled during the pre-season.

Forward Maceo Baston, who was signed as a free agent on July 23, also has played in three of the five pre-season games, and has averaged only eight minutes per game, with two rebounds.

Neither Jackson nor Baston have has done much to impress Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell, but the Raptors have more than enough players at the wing right now with Anthony Parker, Jason Kapono, Carlos Delfino, Juan Dixon, Jamario Moon, Joey Graham and Jackson, whereas the club currently has only six bigs (Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani, Rasho Nesterovic, Jorge Garbajosa, Kris Humphries and Baston) which is the number they would want to carry into the regular season.

It therefore appears likely that a shooting guard or small forward will be released and Jackson seems to be the leading candidate to get the axe. It doesn't help his cause that he is only scheduled to earn $798,000 this season, a salary that the Raptors could easily swallow.

There only are two players on the roster who don't have completely guaranteed contracts, point guard Darrick Martin and small forward Jamario Moon.

Martin is the third string point guard behind T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon, but he is considered a de facto assistant coach and a valuable mentor for Ford and Calderon. Moon really stepped up in Toronto's 92-82 win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night, scoring 10 points with four rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot and has considerable upside as a player.

Unless Jackson explodes offensively in the final two pre-season games of the year, (barring a trade) he'll probably be gone from Raptorland when the regular season beings on Oct. 31, when the Raptors host the Philadelphia 76ers at the Air Canada Centre.


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