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Dec 3, 2012 12:24am
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

I dont know if Ive ever been as torn on a transaction in Bryan Colangelos time
as general manager of the Toronto Raptors as I am over his signing of restricted
free agent Landry Fields, whom he officially secured after New York declined to
match Torontos offer sheet Saturday night. Aaron Rodgers Womens Jersey . In one sense
hes a perfect fit for this Toronto roster. He moves extremely well without the
ball, which will help diversify Torontos predictable offense. Hes a standout
rebounder and passer, which as a starter helps offset the fact that
Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan are terrible in both areas. He plays with the
kind of dogged determination that the Raptors are eager to have define their
team. Hes a solid glue guy, the likes of which Toronto hasnt had since
Jorge Garbajosa. And at only 24, hes still got years to grow and improve. But
then theres that contract, the black cloud over what should be seen as a great
offseason pickup. There is no way to ignore the fact that Landry Fields is being
wildly overpaid. At three years and an estimated $18.5-million, Fields is
probably earning double what he should be making based off of his first two
years in the NBA. Yes, there were mitigating circumstances dictating his price
tag. The Raptors initially offered it thinking that they were kneecapping New
Yorks sign-and-trade bid to bring Steve Nash to the Knicks, which turned out to
be a useless gesture since Nash ended up with the Los Angeles Lakers. The
Raptors also truly wanted him on the team, and so they needed an offer large
enough to keep New York from matching it, which was their right since Fields was
their restricted free agent. Considering the fact that some believed right up
until the eleventh hour that New York might match, it gives some credence to the
notion that Toronto had to pay what it did to shake him loose. All that said,
though, it doesnt change the fact that Fields is wildly overpaid and will have
that contract hanging over his head for the next three years that he plays for
the Raptors. To complicate matters further, Toronto is gambling that Fields
notable drop-off in production last season was an aberration, not a sign of
things to come for the former second-round pick. Fields had a stellar rookie
year, averaging 9.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, shooting nearly 50 per cent from the
field and 40 per cent from three and making the All-Rookie first team ahead of
Indianas Paul George. In year two, however, his production dropped to 8.8 point,
4.2 rebounds, 46 per cent shooting overall and 26 per cent shooting from three.
While a change in roster makeup after Carmelo Anthony arrived has been an
oft-cited explanation for the downturn in Fields production, Toronto is making a
big gamble on that supposition being true (Fields uptick in production when
Carmelo was injured helps support the theory). If Fields can return to his
rookie season production that helps take some of the sting out of his exorbitant
price tag, but hed need to improve even on top of those numbers to get people
looking at him like a player and not as a figure on Torontos balance sheet. Here
is something worth considering, though, since it may help tangentially explain
why Toronto would make such a lucrative bid for Fields in the first place:
Fields rookie year numbers were, across the board, better than those of
Garbajosas in his first year with the Raptors. Colangelo has stated (again and
again) how devastating a blow the loss of Garbajosa was after he was injured at
the end of the 2006-07 season. The two are actually rather similar players,
especially in terms of basketball I.Q. and in their abilities to affect the game
without having plays called for them. Like I said before, both are glue guys,
the type of players that make all of the little plays that allow the whole to
operate more effectively. Colangelo knew how important those qualities were when
Garbajosa was in Toronto, and that is reflected in his all-out bid to bring
Fields in to play the same role this summer. Now, does that ultimately justify
Fields salary? No. Its a disproportionate deal that doesnt accurately reflect
what Toronto can reasonably expect, production-wise, from Fields based off of
his first two NBA seasons.  However, Torontos books are clean enough that it
isnt a prohibitive deal from a flexibility standpoint. With Kyle Lowry drawing a
laughably small salary, combined with the rookie scale deals possessed by
Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross, Ed Davis and DeRozan (in his case for only one
more year), for now Fields is more negative in principle than in a practical
sense. Also, with Jose Calderons $10.6-million deal expiring at the end of the
year and the team still in possession of the right to amnesty Amir Johnson or
Linas Kleiza, financial flexibility is not a concern in Torontos front offices.
Still, Colangelo has made Fields a marked man from day one in Toronto by gifting
him with that salary. Hes putting him in a nearly impossible situation with
fans, who are going to be inclined to detest him through no fault of his own. He
fits, though, at least on paper. He was a smart pickup at a really dumb price.
Thats what leaves me so torn on this deal. Do you slam a guy for overpaying the
right asset, or do you praise him for identifying the right asset and stopping
at nothing to get him? It would be an easier question to answer if Fields was a
bigger name, but as a role player he may never be able to align his salary with
the expectations that it creates. Its not the worst deal that Colangelo has made
in Toronto (paging Jason Kapono), but its far from the best. Good luck to Fields
playing in the shadow of that contract. Hed have been stupid not to take it, but
the fans wont be satisfied until hes earned it. Charles Woodson Jersey . Not surprisingly,
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