July 6, 2012
Bayless' Raptors days numbered?Lowry could mean his departure
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
TORONTO - The addition of Kyle Lowry might have pushed Jerryd Bayless out of the picture in Toronto.
The Raptors withdrew their $4-million US qualifying offer on Bayless on Friday, meaning the 23-year-old guard is now an unrestricted free agent.
The Raptors can no longer match any offers for Bayless, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is as good as gone. This was more of a move based on numbers than talent.
By getting Bayless’ qualifying salary off of the books, the Raptors opened up more options in terms of trade or free-agent signings.
The team retains his “Bird rights” meaning it can still re-sign him and go over the salary cap after making other moves if the interest is mutual.
Losing the option to match is not a major issue because sources say the club would not have matched any significant offers.
That said, it is hard to see Bayless — who averaged 11.4 points, 3.8 assists and 0.8 steals per game in 31 appearance, 11 of them starts last season — returning unless Jose Calderon is dealt elsewhere.
Bayless can play either guard position and the Raptors are still looking to add another scoring off-guard (Bayless is an excellent outside shooter and gets to the free throw line often), but Bayless considers himself a point guard and has been far more productive as a starter (17.8 points, 5.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game last season) than he has been as a reserve.
With Lowry around, starting is now out of the question.
The Raptors likely will have Ben Uzoh and former Xavier point guard Tu Holloway — the Atlantic 10 player of the year — on the summer league roster in Las Vegas later this month. They will be competing for the third-string job.
Meanwhile, with a roster heavy on power or combo forwards, Bryan Colangelo is likely not done trying to balance out his lineup.
The most likely candidate to have a new home in 2012-13 is forward James Johnson and the team also has the new $2.5-million exception to spend.
AROUND THE RIM
The Philadelphia 76ers will amnesty big man Elton Brand when the moratorium ends on July 11, according to Yahoo! Sports. Brand was due to earn $18 million in the final year of his deal. The Dallas Mavericks are considered a likely landing spot. The Sixers have also reached a verbal agreement with Nick Young and free agent guard Lou Williams tweeted that he is done in Philly … Ray Allen had a meeting with the Miami Heat, but has not made a decision on joining the team yet. If he does not, Marcus Camby could join the team. Allen is not sure if he wants to leave Boston. The Celtics will welcome back forward Jeff Green, who missed last season due to a heart problem … Jeremy Lin has accepted an offer sheet from the Houston Rockets but the New York Knicks are expected to match … Brandon Roy will attempt his comeback in Minnesota for the team that initially drafted him. Roy, who retired due to knee trouble, has verbally agreed to a two-year, $10.4-million deal, according to The Oregonian. Roy’s former Portland teammate Nic Batum has agreed to a four-year, $45-million offer from Minnesota, but the Blazers are expected to match … Scuttlebutt has the Raptors returning to Montreal to play an exhibition game in late October. The Raptors and Knicks sold out the Bell Centre two years ago.