Is there something about owning the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors that destines one to total dysfunction?
Honestly, I think we all thought the worst was behind us when it was Smith/Dryden and Quinn. Or, JFJ and Quinn. Who can forget the search committees? Peddie mouthing Fletcher’s words? The ownership situation with the Raptors from day one!
I have to think that Ballard and Stavros are down there laughing up at us.
I read the accounts of the multiple press conferences today and you actually hope the team moves.
Let’s start with Cathal Kelly in the Toronto Star:
“One thing that clearly has been discussed is how much involvement Colangelo will have in the team — none. It was more than that. Colangelo was welcomed with a series of dire warnings on the matter.
“Bryan’s going to have to occasionally take a deep breath and understand now, that a GM is going to have a direct report (to me), and final say-so on all basketball decisions,” Leiweke said. “He’s going to have to live with that. And I hope he can. Because if he can’t, I’m fairly certain we’re not going to fire the Toronto Raptors.”
Yes! Where do I sign up for tickets to this mess? I mean I’d love to see MLSE- Behind the scenes, a new reality TV show on TV ontario, that is something I’d pay to watch.
Kelly has another article, that’s spot on:
“When the NBA escorted Bryan Colangelo into the Raptors’ corner office seven years ago, the general manager’s job came with an understanding.
None of the dilettantes in the MLSE boardroom would be allowed to interfere with him. At the outset, they were warned against even crossing the threshold into his offices without an invitation.
The upshot — Colangelo had agreed to come to Toronto in order to save the flailing Raptors from themselves. Now, according to sources speaking to the Star’s Doug Smith, he’s being fired by way of promotion.”
That was from today, but after I wrote my last story….
Damien Cox has a really good feel good story for Maple Leaf fans:
“Nothing’s off the table. People need to understand that, and given the way young teams develop, they also need to understand that while the Leafs very nearly upset the Bruins, there’s a decent chance Toronto won’t be as successful next season as it was this season.
Leiweke may or may not share that outlook. He and Nonis, you should know, barely know one another, and haven’t spent recent weeks having beers on patios and trading war stories.
“It will be my GM, and I will have his back,” said Leiweke today of the next Raptors GM, and presumably, he’ll want to feel exactly the same way about the individual running the Leafs.”
Jeff Blair calls it bang on in his article:
“Colangelo, who in what seems like a sop to Larry Tanenbaum and maybe even NBA commissioner David Stern has hung on to the title of Toronto Raptors president after being relieved of the general manager’s powers, said in a conference call on Tuesday that he was “thrilled and excited being part of this thing – in terms of putting the finishing touches on a team that I think is well on its way to being a competitive team … a playoff team.”
He has brass ones, our Bryan: leading off his conference call by describing as a “mis-characterization” the description of his reaction to the news that had been offered up by his boss, Tim Leiweke, about an hour earlier. Colangelo preferred “disappointed,” to “ticked off,” – so much so that he gave ‘disappointed’ an extension.”
Steve Simmons nails it too:
“In a way, this has been tried — and failed — already at MLSE. Just in a different form. Then, it was a Richard Peddie production. He didn’t want Pat Quinn to have the roles of both coach and general manager of the Maple Leafs in the late 1990s. He told him to pick one job over the other.
Foolishly, Quinn, who loved coaching, picked the bench job.
Somehow, John Ferguson Jr. wound up being hired as the Leafs’ general manager.
Quinn had no use for Ferguson as a GM. Ferguson had little use for Quinn as a coach. I won’t call what happened open warfare — but the two were barely civil to each other. And what began was a long string of losing seasons that tarnished Quinn’s final years as Leaf coach.
If Leiweke wanted Colangelo out as general manager, which he clearly did, then the proper thing to do — and the easy thing to do — would have been to say, ‘Thanks for your time and you’re no longer needed.’
But Larry Tanenbaum, as chairman of the board of MLSE, tends to fall in love with those who run his teams, even if they run them badly.”
Mike Ganter brings a different perspective:
“Leiweke, if he accomplished nothing else yesterday, confirmed he is in complete control of the entire Raptors operation.
It was his decision — and his decision alone — to keep Colangelo and his 18 years of managerial experience in the Raptors’ head office. Colangelo loses the GM tag, but remains president and will report directly to Leiweke. The new GM, when he arrives, will report solely to Leiweke as well.
Leiweke knows the decision to keep Colangelo around opens him up to all kinds of second guessing and, quite frankly, he doesn’t really care.
He is that confident that he can manage the process. Rather than fear the possible infighting or backstabbing that could happen, he prefers to see the potential help a man with Colangelo’s years of experience and wealth of contacts could be, both to himself and to the man who will succeed him as GM.”
Does anyone believe this?
The fine folks at the National Post worked together on an article:
“The real change won’t be team colours or the logo or an all-star bauble, though. The Raptors are a joke because they don’t win, so it’s the next hire that matters, and how that hire handles this strange shadow that has been placed in the corner. Leiweke said he has a list of about six candidates who have the ability to trade well, draft well and establish a philosophical identity and dictate that to a coaching staff that he would like to interview for the job. He anticipates being denied permission to speak to some of the candidates by the current employers. The odds that he gets the exact right guy, given the limitations, seems unlikely. This all feels very temporary; the Raptors front office as scaffolding, until a better structure can be built.”
Michael Grange wants you to watch out for your shoes:
“But all of that will have to take place. The Raptors will have to make the playoffs. They’ll have to become a legitimate force in the Eastern Conference. They’ll have to be a team that TNT or ESPN might even put on one of their broadcasts once in a blue moon.
But if none of that happens — and who wants to take that bet at the moment? — and the Raptors continue to be the NBA’s version of the chubby private school kid who keeps peeing on their shoes, then the events of the past 24 hours will be as good a place to start as any for someone trying to explain why a rich club in a massive market is on pace for 20 years of various versions of basketball failure.”
Winning cures all. Either they win or it’s same old, same old and the curse continues.