In his first summer as president of the Toronto Raptors, Bryan Colangelo overhauled a roster that had won 27 games the previous season and put together a club that won a franchise-record 47 games, the Atlantic Division title and pushed the New Jersey Nets to the brink in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
The future seemed bright.
Just four years later the only player remaining from that team is Andrea Bargnani, as Colangelo has remade the Raptors roster yet again, this time in the wake of the departure of franchise forward Chris Bosh last week. The Raptors haven't had a winning season in their past three and have missed the playoffs two straight years.
While executives with the Raptors or the Charlotte Bobcats have yet to confirm the trade, multiple media outlets and even some of the players involved have said Toronto is putting together a multi-team deal that will see last year's free agent signee-turned-disappoinment Hedo Turkoglu sent to the Phoenix Suns while Jose Calderon will be sent to the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Raptors would get guard Leandro Barbosa from the Suns, along with a traded player exception worth $2.7-million (all currency U.S.), while Charlotte is sending both Boris Diaw and center Tyson Chandler to Toronto.
It is expected that also going to Charlotte will be Reggie Evans, whose contract expires this season and would be necessary to make the trade work under NBA rules that require salaries to match.
The deal would seem to make the Raptors a bigger and higher scoring team, while also adding a rebounding, shot-blocking big man in the form of Chandler. Just as important it rids the Raptors of Turkoglu, who had become the focus of fan discontent during his first season in Toronto and perhaps most important provides significant financial benefits, saving Toronto nearly $25-million overall. Turkoglu and Calderon were owed about $40-million over the next four years and $30-million over the next three, respectively.
Barbosa is owed $14.7-million over the next two years and Diaw $18-million over same time frame, while Chandler is owed $13-million in the last year of his contract.
Barbosa, 27, was the 2006-07 sixth man of the year in the NBA, averaging 18.1 points and four assists while shooting 43.4 per cent from the three-point line. He was drafted by Colangelo when he was the general manager of the Suns.
Last season Barbosa played in just 44 games due to injuries to his ankle and wrist, and averaged 9.5 points and 1.5 assists in just 18 minutes a game while shooting 42.5 per cent, his worst production in five seasons.
Diaw, 28, averaged 11.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and four assists while shooting 48.3 per cent for Charlotte. He played for Colangelo in Phoenix and is a versatile 6-foot-8 forward who can handle the ball well on the perimeter and pass.
Chandler, 27, has missed 68 games over the past two seasons due to foot and ankle injuries. In his last full season, playing in New Orleans, the 7-foot-1 Chandler averaged 11.8 point and 11.7 rebounds a game, third in the NBA, while shooting 62.3 per cent from the floor, third in the NBA.
In Toronto, Turkoglu started the season slowly after sitting out most of the preseason due to fatigue and otherwise struggled to find a comfortable fit alongside Chris Bosh in the Raptors lineup as he averaged 11.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 40.1 per cent from the floor, his worst statistical line in six seasons.
The 6-foot-10 point forward from Turkey created some distractions off the court as well as he allegedly tried to steal a cellphone from a woman who took a picture of him in a Toronto nightclub and later was suspended when he was seen out downtown after missing a game due to the flu. He frequently complained about his role with the Raptors, suggesting that with so much of the offence running through Bosh he didn't get a chance to do what he did best: create for others in pick-and-rolls.
After the season he was quoted on Turkish television saying he wanted out of Toronto.