This summer, championed a great format, the 5-on-5: five questions asked of five ESPN bloggers (The Raptor one here). Since Arsenalist is wigging out from writing article after article without anything new to talk about, we thought we would adopt the 3-on-3 format created for the TrueHoop Network sites. Three of us (as well as bloggers from other sites, folks from Twitter and even RR commenters) will answer three burning questions.

How would you rate the hiring of Ed Stefanski: good, bad or meh?

Arsenalist: Good. An experienced mind in the front-office can only help, unless of course Colangelo and Stefanksi end up constantly butting heads. That’s unlikely to occur, though, as Colangelo would’ve taken that into careful account before making the hire. The Raptors haven’t had a fresh set of eyes for a while, and Stefanksi does provide that. A guy you can bounce ideas off, maybe if he was around two or three years ago, the thoughts of signing guys like Hedo Turkoglu and Jermaine O’Neal would’ve been cut short.

Unlike Colangelo, Stefanksi’s played the game at a relatively high level (got drafted in the 10th round too), so he definitely brings a blend of both executive experience, and a first-hand knowledge of the game. His recent picks are Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, and Marreese Speights, and I expect him to be very beneficial to the Raptors when it comes to the draft.

Avid readers of RR will note that he did select the great Rodney Carney.

AltRaps: Meh. We already had a second in command in Embry that has gone untapped and/or ignored over the past few years. Not many in the league demand the respect that Embry has and his track record here is pretty damn good. I don’t need to remind you (I hope) of the gifts he provided to Colangelo upon his arrival by clearing space and setting us up for a pretty good rebuild. I also don’t need to remind you that Colangelo pissed it all away like he had been drinking Carlsberg by the keg.

Sam: Meh. Another guy batting .500 is brought in, and given more power than a guy whose been here longer, and hasn’t done worse than a double on any hit. Landing Pritchard would have been the move; that’s just me though.

How much authority will Stefanski have to make the moves HE wants to make?

Arsenalist: He has zero authority to “make” the moves, he can suggest them to Colangelo as much as he pleases, but in the end it’s Colangelo’s decision. He knows that entering into this job. I’m sure not having full authority isn’t ideal, but then again there are only 30 NBA GM jobs in the world. You take what you can get.

AltRaps: About as much authority as I have to go to Arsenalist and demand we change our logo every week. Nil. BC has gone for the quick save and brought a fellow GM in and razzle dazzled the MLSE Board in thinking that 2 heads are better than one. I’m sure there were some lovely graphs and charts showing how more is indeed more and we should pay some money to get a proven piece in to help this organization out in a spot that we needed filled. See Hedo. I’m convinced Ed is working in a cubicle beside JYD and that both have as much pull as each other.

Sam: Does puppet-master come to mind? Trying not to be pesimististic about this, and the guy has made some good moves, but BC isn’t the kind of guy to concede giving his stamp of approval on moves. This is how I see things going down:

  1. Ed working the phone, putting together a deal that makes sense
  2. Puts together his fancy pitch-deck using Keynote
  3. Takes it too Colangelo who gets hung up on the background colors of the slides
  4. BC tells Ed to leave it to him….and he does…
  5. Calderon gets a 3yr/$21m extension

What will/should his first official act be?

Arsenalist: Deal with the power-forward glut: Ed Davis, Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson and Linas Kleiza. If Bargnani is option #1 there, we don’t need Davis and Johnson to vie for 25 minutes a game, it’s better to just hand them over to one of the two and cash in on the other in the trade market. Basically, one of the three has to go.

AltRaps: to increase the budget for halftime entertainment. His first official act won’t matter. You best believe Bryan has a list of guys he wants once free agency opens and nobody is going to change his mind. Stefanski I think will try, but it will be a lost cause. Once that passes, though, I’d hope he sits down with Steve Fruitman (the genius behind some of the good moves in the Colangelo reign) and they do a deep dive in the new CBA. Beyond that, we need someone that will be a solid back up to Jonas. This will surprise you but I’m not sold on the kid. It will be Andrea-like the first few years, so need a piece to bridge that time.

Sam: Seems to me a lot of time and effort will need to go into understanding, and really getting, the new CBA after something gets agreed too. Last summer was a disaster for the Raptors in this regard. Otherwise, any move that can improve the Raptors short term, with the future in mind will do. Just pick any position and make a move.

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  • Juicy

    I’d like to work in a cubicle beside JYD.

  • Quirk

    Title should have been Arsenalist and two imbeciles. AltRaps and Sam failed to say anything remotely interesting. As we expect form AltRaps, but surprising for Sam.

    Q1. Meh, though I agree with Arsenalists answer, having “An experienced mind in the front-office can only help” It’s not really something to get excited about. AltRaps is on crack, as usual, Embry was not “second in command” he is a semi-retired advisor, GM Emeritus, who doesn’t even spend much time in Toronto, except during his “Interim GM” period, during which time he was 1st in command, obviously. If Embry wanted Stefanski’s job he would already have it, or BC’s probably, for that matter.

    Q2. Colangelo has always had the rep of a team player and consensus builder, Stafanski will not have any individual authority, as such, but will be part of the consensus build, share the workload, etc. Here Sam has gone off the deep-end, desperate to be funny, providing an answer that completely baseless and not i keeping with Colangelo’s rep in the slightest.

    Q3. Couldn’t agree more with what needs to be done, trade one of Bargnani, Davis, AJohnson. In that order. However, in terms of what will be done 1st by Ed and Bry? Either Trading one of Barbosa, Calderon or Bayless for a “Casey Guy” or signing a scrub centre with passible defense to hold the fort for JV. AltRaps sings the praises of “genius” Steve Fruitman based on having read one Star article about him during the Hedo acquisition, while Sam appears to mistakingly believe it will be Stefanski, and not the aforementioned Fruitman who’s task it will be to study the new CBA.

    Thanks to all for giving us something to read, in any case. 

    • c_bcm

      ouch. ‘Bit scathing I would say.

    • billy

      Wow almost exactly what I thought while reading this time wasting post. Nice reply.

    • Sam Holako

      Bit harsh, but I do stand by what I say:

      1. The Stefanski hiring isn’t exciting for me, he’s good, but so is Colangelo
      2. Stefanski knows what he got himself into, will try to make things happen, and ultimately BC will do what he thinks is right
      3. Until we know what the CBA looks like, discussing arbitrary moves is moot. Gotta figure out how to take advantage of the CBA, then build the team. The Raptors have the luxury of needing help all around, so they don’t have to target certain positions.

      The attempt at humour was lame, for that I apologize.

  • Nilanka15

    As long as Colangelo is calling the shots, I don’t see Stefanski making a noticeable impact on this team.

    • c_bcm

      It’s so hard to make statements like these. Who knows what situations will arise in the future. Maybe some situation comes up where Stefanski has more experience than Colangelo or other staff members; whether its prior relationships with available free agents, their people, or other organizations. I think in general having diversity in your staff can never be a bad thing given in less-than predictable nature of this business.

  • Guest

    if we could somehow get another draft pick in the high or even in the middle of the first round, then in 12/13 we’ve got Jonas and 2 picks stuck here for 4 years together and probably a cba that gives a better chance at re-signing them

  • 511

    Pretty sure nobody imagines Ed Stefanski has full authority to make a move just because he might want to … but what matters is that Stefanski gets the same kind of respect from Colangelo. And he will. That’s very likely why they brought Ed Stefanski in, after all, when it comes down to it. This way, Bryan gets to keep doing what he’s basically been doing — lot of it’s been good and/or it hasn’t all been bad — and if BC happens to have a ‘Let’s-give-Turkoglu-a-big-fat-stupid-contract’ moment, Ed Stefanski is there to help him see why it might be good to take a breath and consider alternatives.  

    I don’t always think two heads are better than one but in this case … I like it. And really, when you consider that Dwane Casey is now in the mix, we’ve got three pretty good heads there with a brand spankin’ new chemistry and outlook on things, the likes of which this Raptors team has NEVER seen before … that I can recall or figure. 

    So a) I rate the hire as good. Very good. 
    b) authority? answered above. 
    c) his first official act (meaning, Stefanski/Colangelo/Casey)? Dunno. Depends on what Casey plans for Bargnani, first and foremost. Other than that, I don’t care, as long as he doesn’t trade Ed Davis for at least one more year. And DeRozan of course. Other than those two things, go nuts, as far as I’m concerned. 

  • KaioKev

    Stefanski is first off the replacement for Masai Ujiri. He’s an experience GM who will work with all of the Raptors management team to come to a consensus about player acquisitions, drafts, free agency, etc. Some of things he brings others will agree with. Other ideas may take some time convincing and vice versa with any other executive in Raptors management past and present. All in all. Its business+1 as usual. The +1 is for the fact that it gives us starving fans something to talk about. And while I’m talking about something to talk about, trade Calderon. When the time comes obviously.

  • Statement

    I hope the players accept the latest proposal.

    The proposal should be put to a membership vote.  I bet the majority of players would like to be playing right now.

    • Nilanka15

      There are rumours that 200+ players’ signatures have been collected so far in support of decertification.  That’s a scary number.  If these rumours are true, I’m sure more signatures are forthcoming.

      • Guest

        There are talks that if this goes to the court, then not only this season is gone but even next season can be in jeopardy as well !!