Magloire a fit for Raps

Jamaal Magloire officially becomes a free agent this summer. (Sun Media/Jack Boland)

Jamaal Magloire officially becomes a free agent this summer. (Sun Media/Jack Boland)

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

The Heat went down in flames yesterday, burned in Dixie as one of the NBA's most puzzling playoff series came to its merciful end.

From the ashes of Miami's Game 7 flameout to the host Atlanta Hawks emerges the riddle that remains Jamaal Magloire.

The Big Cat turns 31 in a fortnight after failing to turn heads on the hardwood.

No one can say with any degree of certainty how much game the Toronto native has left because he hasn't been given any consistent minutes for quite some time.

There are those in the NBA who would argue that he hasn't earned them, that Magloire has taken a step back in each of the seasons following his breakout offensive year in 2003 when he averaged a career-high 13.6 points.

How many lives this former Kentucky Wildcat has left is anyone's guess.

His future in South Beach is tenuous at best, especially with Jermaine O'Neal in the fold and Miami's fondness for Canadian Joel Anthony.

Magloire officially becomes a free agent this summer.

Money will be tight in a shrinking economy and the Heat gave Magloire another shot by signing the free agent last off-season to the league minimum of roughly $1.4 million US.

There are many mysteries surrounding Magloire, most of which involve his lack of involvement with Canada's national team.

There have always been convenient excuses when the time arrived for Magloire to make a commitment to Canada.

For most of the time the person running Canada's team from the sidelines was Jay Triano, the Raptors' interim head coach who is likely to have that tag removed sometime before Magloire celebrates his birthday on May 21.

The Raptors are looking for toughness, an area GM Bryan Colangelo admitted needs addressing when he talked to the media at his season-in-review news conference.

Politics and personal baggage aside, Magloire can help the Raptors because the team is so thin up front.

Patrick O'Bryant is a seven-foot jump shooter on a team that takes too many jump shots.

Jake Voskuhl was a stop-gap on a team that lacked a veteran presence and Kris Humphries broke a leg and probably many hearts because he has yet to find a level of consistency.

Magloire has not endeared himself to many in Canada, at least those involved with basketball.

He has always given his time and money to the community.

Now comes the moment of truth of whether the Raptors are willing to take a gamble on Magloire.

One of the NBA's unwritten rules of thumb is to avoid, if possible, signing players who live in that team's city.

There are too many headaches associated with such a reunion, but there are exceptions.

The Raptors should at least look at Magloire, whose stock isn't exactly high. But by no means is Magloire a priority in an off-season filled with far greater concerns.

But when the off-season moves are made and the need for a veteran post player who will rebound, defend, bring an edge off the bench and won't demand touches remains, why not consider Magloire?

Money matters

Ben Gordon, who turned down a five-year offer by the Bulls worth $50 million , hits free agency on July 1.

The shot-happy Gordon can score, a skill no one can dispute.

In Chicago's epic seven-game series against the Celtics, Gordon averaged 24.7 points, but he took nearly 20 shots a game and averaged just 3.0 assists.

Gordon doesn't know what the future holds and no one in the NBA can say what's in store, either.

"I'm just going to have to wait and see what my options are,'' Gordon said. "See what the Bulls want to do and go from there ... You never know."


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