April 15, 2013 by slewfeet
The Toronto Raptors stand 2 games from the end of a lost season, a team bereft of hope and dignity. Their high point was Andrea Bargnani reinjuring his elbow as a sort of karmic mercy-kill, while the nadir – despite many strong contenders – continues to be Bryan Colangelo’s existence. At this point, the only thing left to play for is how hilarious DeMar DeRozan’s tweet about John Hollinger will be in retrospect.
If you’re anything like me, then by now the Raptors have probably sucked all the joy from your life, leaving you a shambling wreck whose only sustenance is the misery of others. But we aren’t the worst off – four particularly woebegone souls had the misfortune to actually be on the team, only to be tossed aside like Quincy Acy’s untouched razor once their lives were drained of love and their hearts left cold and broken. For those who seek the most tragic of tales (to point and laugh at), this is their story.
The Raptor: Wait, Hamed Haddadi was a Raptor? When did that happen?
The Aftermath: Well whenever it did, it sure isn’t happening anymore. Haddadi’s now on the Phoenix Suns and has been surprisingly serviceable, setting career bests in minutes played, points, and Twitter followers. Without a hint of sarcasm, he was putting up Quincy Acy numbers by early March. The Pride of Iran has tailed off since then, but is Haddadi starting to take that next step from your average mountain of lunchmeat to a real basketball player?
He claims to not have even bothered staying in shape following his trade to the Raptors, so probably not. At this point, professional basketball seems to just be a side hobby next to his real calling of being a Twitter personality. Still, he could be a sleeper fantasy pick for next season, if only because he’ll be sleeping through most games.
The Return: In exchange for Haddadi and a 2nd-round pick, the Raptors received a traffic cone named Sebastian Telfair, who has since played to the level of a poor man’s Renee Montgomery. Despite being touted as a ball mover, his offense is anemic and I wouldn’t trust him to defend Dominic fucking McGuire. But in all fairness, he can pass well enough to actually play his damn position, unlike certain tiny guys with tiny voices I could name.
The Raptor: Acquired as a defensive specialist, a title often assigned to players who can’t do anything else, Dominic McGuire arrived with little aplomb and a lot to prove. He proceeded to be so ineffective that he couldn’t even make the Toronto Raptors, a team so bad that they resorted to starting Dominic McGuire. A sack of potatoes could have replaced him without anybody noticing, and probably with a better free throw percentage too.
Once actually putting him on the court turned out to be completely unviable, the Raptors were forced to sign the rotting corpse of Mickael Pietrus, which pushed McGuire to fifth (!) on a depth chart that also included studs like Landry Fields, Linas Kleiza, and Alan Anderson. He was placed on waivers and quickly snapped up by the New Orleans Future Pelicans, ruining their reputation so badly that they were forced to change names to save face.
The Aftermath: McGuire lasted a scant nine games before the then worst team in the league realized they could do better and waived him as well. Somehow, in a week’s time he was already starting for the Indiana Pacers on a 10-day contract. He evidently made an impact, as the Pacers decided to sign him for another 10 days as a cruel prank, refused to let him play, and then walked away and left him to rot. That makes a whopping 7 teams have given up on him in under 4 years. There isn’t a basketball school in the world that can teach that.
The Return: Because McGuire was waived, the only reward for his departure was no longer having him in our starting lineup. As such, this was an A+ transaction and full credit should be given to management for making a move to so decisively improve the team.
The Raptor: Ed Davis really hit his stride this year, consistently performing at a near double-double pace and acquitting himself remarkably well as a regular starter. Finding a strong chemistry with Amir Johnson, he became one of the Raptors’ most consistent performers over January and seemed poised to take the next step in cementing himself as their PF of the future. However, Bryan Colangelo never seemed to have much faith in him, griping that Ed “doesn’t take enough bad jumpers to [his] liking,” and lacks “the grit and leadership to drive into triple teams like this Gay guy I’ve been watching.”
The Aftermath: Since his departure, Ed has seen his usage decrease by nearly 10 minutes a game as he rots on the bench behind superstar Zach Randolph. It may be far more dignified a fate than sitting behind the likes of Bargnani, but it’s also much damper, considering how sweaty Randolph can get. At any rate, he doesn’t seem all that distraught, so he’s probably either cool with it or secretly planning to shank Randolph in his sleep.
The Return: In addition to Jose, the Rudy Gay trade also cost the Raptors the likes of Ed Davis and a 2nd-round pick, establishing their long-term goal as a few scattered 8th-place finishes at a luxury tax payroll. But it also paid dividends in acquiring Hamed Haddadi, warmer of benches and chewer of gum. Unless you’ve been reading this backwards, you by now already know Haddadi’s sordid story. After dropping off the map for several days, he suddenly reappeared in Phoenix (presumably fresh off a peyote bender) and since then, has at least had documented evidence that he still exists – quite the mean feat by his standards.
The Raptor: Jose Calderon spent many years plying his trade for an awful basketball team, going woefully underappreciated despite his highly efficient play and raw sex appeal (don’t lie, I know you were thinking it too). In addition to being the undisputed king of five o’clock shadow, he was probably the best point guard the Raptors have ever had. Known for energizing the team with his exuberant and usually unintelligible yelling, Jose was at times its lone bright spot in a black abyss full of nightmares and despair. He may be gone from the team, but he will never be gone from our hearts.
The Aftermath: After his trade to Memphis, Jose was immediately flipped to Detroit as the Grizzlies already had Mike Conley manning the point whereas the Pistons had a pile of sawdust. He appears to have fully embraced his new team, at least judging from his Twitter profile. Things like birthday dinners for Jonas Jerebko, singing the praises of Andre Drummond like he never would for a chump like Terrence Ross. There are tears in my eyes from knowing that nothing will ever be the same between us, Jose.
The Return: The main target of this trade was a chap by the name of Rudy Gay, whose acquisition caused accidental homophobic remarks in the city to skyrocket. Touted as the star player the Raptors were missing since Chris Bosh’s departure, Rudy quickly endeared himself to Toronto by showing off his elite ability to generate field goal attempts. Dwane Casey was especially enamoured, dramatically tearing his playbook to shreds and declaring for once and for all that this was now Rudy’s team.
Since then, the Raptors have been one of the most exciting teams in the league, featuring plays such as the Rudy jumper from inside, Rudy dribbling into five guys, Rudy reaffirming that he can’t shoot threes, and occasionally an Amir putback off a missed Rudy shot. With his winning smile and $16,460,538 salary, he’s sure to be a household name in Toronto for years to come! In unrelated news, Bryan Colangelo was recently seen in a housefire, fiddling.
In retrospect, that doesn’t actually make me feel better at all. But with so little left to live for, there’s not much else to do but offer up a prayer to St. Jude, patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes, and look forward to next year’s tank for Wiggins.