Not over for Moon

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:28 PM ET

The Raptors are going to have a 27-year-old rookie on their 15-man roster to start the 2007-08 season.

A little more than four months ago, Jamario Moon impressed enough in a workout for the Raptors that they signed him to a one-year deal with a team option for next season.

That got the 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward's foot in the door. Moon had to earn his keep though through training camp, and he did just that as a willing student eager to do whatever the Raptors' coaching staff asked of him.

Moon's athleticism allowed the Raptors to keep him and waive forward Luke Jackson.

The Raps were a man over the 15-man limit, so one of Moon, Jackson or Juan Dixon would likely be let go.

Jackson, who was brought in during the latter stages of last season, will not go away empty-handed. The Raptors will have to buy out his contract if he is not claimed by another club.

That would appear to be a long shot given the fact most teams were in the same boat as the Raptors in having to cut down to 15 last night. Jackson stood to earn just under $800,000 this season.

Dixon's salary of $2.9 million would have been a lot tougher for the Raptors to swallow. Moon would have been the cheapest alternative but showed the Raptors brass enough that they were willing to spend a little more to keep him around.

Asked yesterday following practice if he was nervous with his future with the club hanging in the balance, Moon surprised his questioners.

"No, not at all," Moon said. "I've been cut before. I've been cut plenty of times. I'm looking forward to being here, but if I'm not here I'll understand. It's a business."

"I'll just go home and play my video games. If my phone rings I hope it's a good ring and if it doesn't, I hope that's a good sign too. I don't really think about it. If I think about it, its not going to change the decision so I'll just go home and relax and hope for the best."

Moon assumed he had a pretty good shot at sticking around for two reasons. One, he brings a versatility that Jackson does not possess. He can play three of the five positions on the court while Jackson was limited to just the small forward spot, at which the Raptors are deep.

Moon also is a better defender and rebounder than Jackson and with a premium in those two areas, that advantage likely was the one that tipped the scales in his favour.

"I'm feeling pretty confident right now," Moon said before learning the team's decision. "I feel I've come in and worked hard every day, did everything coach Mitchell asked me to do."

After declaring for the NBA draft in 2001 as an early entrant after just one year at Meridian Community College in Meridian, Miss., Moon was undrafted and began a five-year trip through basketball's minor leagues.

He has played in five different leagues -- the WBA, the NBDL, the ABA, the CBA, and the USBL -- as well as serving a stint with the Harlem Globetrotters in 2004.


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