COLE’S NOTES: Valentine’s Day headlines
Who knew a day meant for love and romance would turn into a big sports day.
I love it.First let's start with the Toronto Raptors putting together their very own "Big 3", which seems to be a prerequisite for being considered a legit championship contender.
This became the case when Toronto traded away a fan favourite in Terrence Ross and their 2017 1st Round draft pick to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka.
Talk about a steal. The Raps acquire a Power Forward, which has been missing from their line-up for many years, with playoff experience and a defensive style that should fit in nicely with Coach Dwane Casey's system.
And they gave up what will most likely be a bottom six pick in the first round and who was probably the eighth or ninth best player on their team.
Don't get me wrong... T Ross was one of the more exciting players on the team and one of the league’s best dunkers, but with DeRozan, Lowry, Powell, Joseph and Caroll ahead of him on the guard depth chart there really isn't a need for him.
What's even better about this trade is that the Raptors could have had Ibaka before this past year’s draft but the asking price included a higher draft pick and more players.
If you aren't familiar with Serge Ibaka here is the run down. He played in 20+ playoff games with the Oklahoma City Thunder alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Ibaka is constantly in the running for Defensive Player of the Year.
And not only can he do what Power Forwards are supposed to do very well but he is also a threat to shoot three pointers.
Most importantly though Ibaka allows the Raptors to compete with the likes of the Cavaliers which is something they have never been able to say.
I'm not saying that they could beat Cleveland but if they are going to have a chance at doing so Ibaka was the best available player at the upcoming trade deadline.
A lot of analysts are saying that this trade is only a win if Toronto is able to re-sign Serge in the off-season, as his current contract ends at the conclusion of this season.
I disagree. Even if this is a "rental" situation management is proving that they care about resolving their current losing ways and they also realize that their line-up isn't good enough to compete to win it all.
Even if they don't re-sign him we now know that Masai Ujiri (general manager) is willing to add to the line-up and could do so by signing other available stars in the off-season.
This trade should move the Raps back up to secondnd in the East and might even allow them to move ahead of the Cavs, with the 6 week injury to Kevin Love.If that big news wasn't enough, the Montreal Canadiens made some noise by firing their coach Michel Therrien and hiring his replacement, Claude Julien, in the same breath.
There are so many places I could start with this news but I will rewind back to a conversation I was having with a friend of mine on Sunday, when he asked, jokingly, "So how are you going to feel when Julien becomes your next coach?"
A question that I first responded to with an expletive followed by a "lol". The following text then had me saying "If Julien is our coach then I am a Blackhawks fan".
I say that because having a former Boston Bruins coach now the leader of my team would make me want to cheer for my second favourite team.
Much like the Weber/Subban trade from last summer I had a five-minute pout session and then started to think logically and in turn became quite excited about the change.
I didn't like Michel Therrien as the coach of the current Habs because it just seemed like he wasn't designing the system to fit his players strength but instead trying to have them change their style of play to fit his way.
I didn't like Therrien when he was our coach back in the early 2000s for the same reason. But I especially didn't like that we gave him a second chance.
What's hilarious about this news is that when Therrien was fired back in 2003 it was Claude Julien who replaced him.
Julien had been eight days removed from being the Boston Bruins bench boss before coming back to the Bleu, Blanc et Rogue. While in Boston he won 60 per cent of his games, which included a Stanley Cup a handful of years ago.
But the way his team played made me hate Julien himself because I feel like any sensible person wouldn't let their players play like a bunch of goons. I guess I can put at ease knowing that those players always played that way and continue to do so even though he is no longer their coach.
It has been rumoured that Therrien had "lost the room". Regardless of whether or not that is true he never really earned my trust or faith. He was never a winner and his system never had his teams playing a complete game.
Can you blame the players for that? A little bit. But I think we will soon find out that the Habs are more talented than their record, and their current losing ways, show.
Here's hoping. Now that Bergevin has finally listened to me and got rid of Michel T, I hope he will also grant my other wish and find a way to make a trade with Colorado and have Matt Duchene coming our way this season.
Maybe its wishful thinking but I truly believe we have a lot of young players that the Avalanche would find desirable and should be considered disposable with the Habs decent depth that only seems to be missing all-star talent.
All and all I think some very smart sports moves were made today. Even better that they happened to teams that I cheer for.
What will tomorrow have in store?
P.S. Watching the Lakers/Kings game reminds me of watching my high school midget basketball championship game. You can see that the talent is there but there is a lot of ugly ball being played.
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