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News » Toronto Raptors Getting Inside 2008-08-29

Toronto Raptors Getting Inside 2008-08-29

Toronto Raptors Getting Inside 2008-08-29
One is ready to resurrect his career; the other's ready to take on a more significant role.

The Raptors can only hope both get their jobs done.

In moves that pretty much signify the end of any major offseason moves, the Raptors officially added Jermaine O'Neal to the roster and re-signed point guard Jose Calderon, expecting both to help the team rise from the levels of Eastern Conference mediocrity.

O'Neal is the more interesting of the two. He's coming off about four injury-plagued seasons in Indiana -- a team dogged as much by incidents off the court as by what it did on the floor -- and says he's ready to reclaim his spot as one of the top power forwards in the game.

It remains to be seen whether his left knee is fully recovered or whether he can get back to even close to the form of the early 2000s, but the Raptors think that alongside Chris Bosh, O'Neal can anchor one of the top frontcourts in the conference.

"I think the thing I will bring to the team is a defensive presence -- I will clog the middle, take charges, block shots, alter shots," he said.

Calderon, meanwhile, becomes the starter with the departure of T.J. Ford and by virtue of the five-year contract worth an estimated $40 million he's signed. The native of Spain has improved his game in each of his first three seasons but has never logged starter's minutes for an extended period.

"It was really difficult for me to think ... about not being with the Raptors," he said. "This year was really, really good for me (and) my family because I feel at home, I feel really comfortable. I never see myself with another jersey."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: August 29, 2008


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