The winds of change were palpable inside and outside the Raptorsí practice facility Saturday at the Air Canada Centre.
The basketball mover and shaker better known as Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo has once again remade his roster.
The Raptors announced late Saturday that they had acquired guard Jerryd Bayless, forward Peja Stojakovic and cash considerations from the New Orleans Hornets for guards Jarrett Jack and Marcus Banks and centre David Andersen.
ďThe acquisition of another emerging talent and the creation of additional salary cap flexibility in the coming years were the key drivers in making this deal,Ē Colangelo said in a press release.
ďOur plan of developing our existing young players and acquiring future assets remains our focus in retooling this Toronto basketball team.Ē
Bayless, 22, and Stojakovic are expected to be in uniform Wednesday when the Raptors host the Philadelphia 76ers.
Stojakovic is in his 13th season in the league. The three-time all-star has averaged double figures in scoring in 11 of his 12 seasons, including a career-best 24.2 points in 2003-04.
In 138 career games, Bayless has averaged 6.6 points, 2.0 assists and 15.3 minutes of floor time.
Colangeloís latest moves arenít going to bring the Raptors any closer to a playoff berth, nor will it address a need for a post defender and scorer, but on the surface Colangelo has better positioned the team for both the immediate and long term.
Itís easy to see why Colangelo would send Jack, Banks and Andersen to the Big Easy because none figured to have any role with the Raptors down the road.
Jack averaged 11.3 points and 5.0 assists in 95 appearances with the Raptors.
Banks appeared in 25 games with the team, averaging 4.6 points and 1.2 assists.
Andersen was acquired from Houston on July 28. He averaged 5.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in 11 contests as a Raptor.
Once again, the deal in principle is an admission that acquiring Jack and hoping he could complement Jose Calderon was a mistake.
Itís the Colangelo way, acquiring pieces and moving them just as quickly when itís obvious they wonít mesh.
Internet reports were buzzing well before the Raptors convened for their session in the wake of their win Friday night over the Houston Rockets, Torontoís second victory in a row.
But all one had to do was wait, as the media often does before the gym doors swing open, and see Jack leaving practice and later returning briefly, his attire more in tune with a guy who knew he would soon be packing his bags.
Banks, who has yet again been traded to make a deal work, and Andersen, who made shots against his former Rockets team on Friday, were nowhere to be found.
But as one team official so succinctly put it: ďI like this move.íí
More shoes are sure to drop because the addition of Stojakovic suddenly gives the Raptors too many wings. The most likely candidate to get dealt next, and at this point itís not even known when such a deal can get done, is Reggie Evans.
So thin in bodies were the Raptors on Saturday that the team couldnít conduct a live practice, which is basketball talk for playing five on five.
One of the bodies in attendance was rookie Ed Davis, whose recovery from knee surgery continues.
Davis figures to get plenty of minutes when heís cleared to play.
Given the investment in Davis and the long-term commitment to Amir Johnson, even an idiot can see that Evansí days are numbered.
For now the deal makes Calderon the undisputed starter at the point, a role he clearly deserves based on his recent play.
It also gives the Raptors a clear rotation at point guard with Bayless, who can push the ball and will get in the lane, as the backup.
In the onerous world that makes up a cap system, every team employs a capologist.
In the case of the Raptors, itís Steve Fruitman, by all accounts a very clever and imaginative official who made a rare Saturday appearance at practice, more evidence that something was brewing.
Technically, Bayless, who was selected 11th overall in the 2008 draft by Indiana, cannot be involved in any multi-player trade until Dec. 23 because he was acquired by New Orleans five days prior to the start of the season.
Itís believed then that the Raptors had to use part of their trade exception acquired from Miami in the Chris Bosh deal to get Bayless.
To put it another way, two separate deals had to be completed by the Raptors and Hornets, who this past off-season were involved in a trade that sent Marco Belinelli to New Orleans and Julian Wright to Toronto.
Lest anyone think this trade will dramatically impact either team, it wonít.
In Toronto, thereís clarity at the point, but a glut at the wing and no backup for Andrea Bargnani, at least thereís no 7-foot perimeter presence who can defend. Thereís financial flexibility down the road and the options to make further deals this season.
In New Orleans, the Hornets get a backup for Chris Paul, an expiring contract and financial flexibility.
In other news, head coach Jay Triano announced that Leandro Barbosa will play against the visiting Celtics on Sunday.