Share this article

print logo


The Toronto Raptors held an NBA jam session Thursday night to conclude their seven-day training camp at Erie Community College's Burt Flickinger Athletic Center.

A crowd of 942 watched the 45-minute intra-squad scrimmage, which included several highlight-reel plays. It also gave the team a final dress rehearsal before it opens the preseason schedule Saturday against the Indiana Pacers in Fort Wayne, Ind.

"I'm happy with how the week went," coach Darrell Walker said. "I thought everyone worked very hard. Hopefully, it will carry over into Saturday and beyond."

Raptors vice president and general manager Isiah Thomas expressed his satisfaction with the stay in Buffalo and said there is "a very strong possibility" the team might return next year.

"We had a nice stay here. Everyone treated us very well," said Thomas, who is also a part owner of the team. "Tonight was a good way to top things off."

The Raptors aren't expected to make the playoffs, but Thomas feels they should be competitive.

"I like the versatility of our group," he said. "You can play a big lineup, you can play a small lineup. You are able to put people into mismatches offensively."

There was more on Thomas' mind than the scrimmage. Earlier in the day, an arbitrator approved a three-way trade between Toronto, the New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers.

The Raptors will get former Syracuse University star and Rochester native John Wallace from the Knicks in exchange for Toronto's first-round draft pick in 1998. The Knicks get Chris Dudley from the Trail Blazers in exchange for New York's No. 1 pick.

The trade was held up late Thursday night as Portland and New York argued whether the pick going to the Trail Blazers would be lottery protected.

The NBA originally voided the deal in September, saying it was an attempt to circumvent the salary cap. Dudley had opted out of a contract with Portland that had three years and $13 million remaining on it, then re-signed at a lower salary ($1.13 million for one year) so he would fit under the Knicks' cap.

The 6-foot-7 Wallace, a former No. 1 draft pick who had an uneventful rookie year, gives the Raptors another scorer and adds versatility to the front court, according to Thomas.

"He fits into the type of offense we want to run," Thomas said. "He's highly skilled and he gives us an opportunity to go eight or nine deep on our bench.

"I don't think there will be any set time or minutes for him. Once he gets here, his play and his attitude will determine how many minutes he plays."

The Raptors plan to use an up-tempo style of offense and defense that is suited to their personnel.

Point guard Damon Stoudamire reaffirmed his status as one of the league's most exciting players as he wowed the crowd with slick ballhandling and passing.

Marcus Camby and Carlos Rogers, both 6-11 forwards, played well above the rim and ran the court like guards. Reserve guards Shawn Respert and Chris Garner stood out with their outside shooting, and 255-pound power forward Reggie Slater was strong inside.

Perhaps the biggest crowd pleaser was 6-8 rookie guard Tracy McGrady, who showed plenty of hang time on a tomahawk slam that nearly brought the house down.

"I know the little kids like to see dunks, so I was happy to be able to give them one," said McGrady, a high school phenom making the jump to the NBA.

There are no comments - be the first to comment