3 years, 19 million. Hey, it’s chess move. The Toronto Raptors are now going to get Steve Nash, energize the country, and make a ton of money off tickets. Right? What, Nash signed with the Lakers?
It certainly must have been an awkward feeling for general manager Bryan Colangelo after the realization that he had screwed over the Raptors yet again by adding another horrid contract on the books, and still missed out on the target of Nash. Colangelo tries to justify it by saying the Raps really did want Landry Fields, yet saying that does even more damage. How can you pay a former second round pick over 6 million a year when he produced 8.8 points per game on inefficient shooting and awful 3 point shooting, along with horrid free-throw shooting and mediocre defense the season prior?
At this point, the Fields signing is looking that much worse considering how financially tight the Raps really are at the moment. In fact, I’m going to go out and say that getting Fields has been Colangelo’s worst signing – ever.
Jason Kapono, Hedo Turkoglu, Andrea Bargnani, Linas Kleiza, the list seems to be endless and Colangelo continues to make irrational signings, however Fields is at the top of that list.
Kapono was signed for 4 years, 20 million dollars and was evidently grossly overpaid. However, he WAS the league’s top three-point shooter the season before, and played fairly solid in Toronto, shooting a sky high three-point percentage, and contributing positively. His market value was probably a million dollars lower per year, however overpaying slightly lured Kapono to the Raptors and throwing that money at him was justifiable at the time considering the Raps need for three-point shooting.
Turkoglu was signed for 5 years, 53 million by the Raptors. He was the top free agent in the offseason, and Colangelo wanted to make a splash and take the team to the next level. The funds were there, and he took advantage and made a move that looked fantastic on paper. However, as you all know, Turkoglu dissapointed by averaging 11.3- 4-6- 4.1 and evidently, those aren’t 10 million dollar numbers. However, those numbers really aren’t all bad, and he did contribute something to the team. On top of that, Colangelo quickly fixed the mistake by dealing Turk a year later.
Kleiza was signed to an identical contract that Kapono received after ripping it up in the Olympics. Raptors fans had extremely high expectations for the Lithuanain, and he put up 11.2 points per game in his first year with the Raps. Injury problems have hurt Kleiza’s production greatly, but it’s clear that when he’s healthy he’s a solid role player.
Bargnani’s contract is similar to Turkoglu’s, and this is justifiable. Looking at it, Bargnani was solid in his first few years of his career, and Colangelo wanted to lock up his first overall pick long term. He had the basis to give him that contract, and Bargnani responded with some solid seasons, carrying the Raptors offensively. I don’t understand how people could call a guy who was averaging over 20 points a game extremely overpaid for that value. This year is evidently a different story, but the point is that the contract was understandable.
I would like to point out that this article isn’t justifying the above contracts. Yes, it’s pointing to the fact that Colangelo does tend to overpay for players (even Amir Johnson said he would have signed for less), however the point is that his latest bad contract is the worst one. It wasn’t justifiable in the first place to sign Fields to that kind of money, and he’s responded with his worst season yet, consisting of missed layups, horrible shooting, and just awful, awful basketball. Sure, he’s played solid defense at points and contributes on the glass, but you don’t pay that kind of money for a “glue guy”.
Colangelo’s mistake has costed this team more than people realize, as that extra cap space would have been immeasurably helpful this offseason, and could have helped land the Raps their missing piece. While I expect Colangelo to be extended, he better learn from his mistakes, because the Raps are at the point where they are overloaded with bad contracts and another one could seriously set the franchise back for years to come.
Credit to Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports for the photo