Action – The Toronto Raptors have signed Rasho Nesterovic to a 1 year deal worth approx. $1.9M
Reaction – LET’S NBA!
The Details: The whirlwind summer continues for Raptor fans. Bryan Colangelo kept the ball rolling by locking up Rasho Nesterovic for the 2009-10 season. This marks the 7th new addition to the team over the span of 2 months. The signing comes as no surprise as it wasn’t a matter of “if”, more a when and for how long. Colangelo made it pretty clear at the Jarrett Jack press conference that his next goal was to bring back Rasho. Lucky for him, he was working with some leverage. Rasho is one of a growing number of players who WANTS to play in the great white north. He maintains his off-season home in Toronto and mentioned in almost every interview since he was traded that he never wanted to leave. Both sides seemed keen to get this deal done and the one year contract is a bonus. Once again, the mastermind of BC comes through – He gets the veteran he wants while maintaining flexibility for next summer
The Benefits: I liked the Rasho deal with the Spurs and I like it even better this time around. This move isn’t going to make headlines outside of Toronto, but Rasho brings to the table a lot of the intangibles that went missing last season. He is the definition of a “know your role” player. A perfect compliment to backup Bargnani at C – Doesn’t demand the ball on offense, rebounds well, can hit the occasional jumper and plays defence. My only concern would be having him and Evans on the floor at the same time as the front line on the second unit (hopefully won’t happen since Jay has shown a lot more competence with his rotations than the Smitch). As a Pacer, Nesterovic averaged 6.8ppg and 3.4rpg over 70 games but it’s not his numbers that make this signing a positive one. In his previous stint with the Raptors, he was a veteran presence in the locker room who served as a mentor for Bargnani. This time shouldn’t be any different. The stat sheet may be lacking but those aforementioned intangibles along with the ability to play one-on-one defense makes one believe this is another step to get the team back on track.
Looking Ahead: I love this deal for the team but it pretty much kills any chance of the team bringing back Pops Mensah-Bonsu. With only one roster spot remaining, it will likey be used on a wing player. Unless Pops was serious about his transformation, the list of probable players is a pretty short one which includes Carlos Delfino, Joey Graham or any available player that can be had for the league minimum. Personally, I would be perfectly OK if Colangelo stopped right now and left that spot available for possible tweaking during the season.