A bunch of topics to cover today, so let’s get started.

Thank you, Mr. Leiweke

Bryan Colangelo maintaining his role as president of the club does not, for a minute, take any joy away from his firing as the GM of the club.  The man was flat-out incompetent in his role as continually pointed out by this space since the last four years, and it took Tim Leiweke about five minutes to see through the roster, the “organic growth”, and the marketing material that the organization and media had bought into.  For that I am very thankful.  The interview is below, but here’s a couple great quotes:

First and foremost, we have to figure out consistently and how to win long-term.  I guess I referred to it earlier today as being a Seven Eleven.  Good enough to maybe be in the 7th or 8th spot and maybe make the playoffs, but never good enough to win.

I do like the fact that we’re going to have a GM with a fresh view of the world, with a fresh view of the world, with a fresh view of this roster, with a fresh view of what it is we need to do to be competitive long-term.

This was the essence of building under Bryan Colangelo.  He might’ve even gotten us into the playoffs next year, but just like in 2008, it doesn’t mean anything because you’re stuck in doldrums.

Obstruction for new GM

Retaining the business-specific role in the organization is makes no matter, and can only benefit the Raptors.  The only negative I can potentially see coming from it is if the incoming GM is uncomfortable working with him.  It’s a distinct possibility, but given the clarity with which Leiweke has defined Colangelo’s new role and the explicit nature in which he’s stated the new GM’s authority puts me at ease.  Simply put, if the new GM feels Colangelo is hampering him, Colangelo will be fired from his new flimsy role as well.  Fear not.  Leiweke made no secret of saying that if he had to draw it up from scratch, this is not the ideal structure:

This is based, in part, on timing, this is based, in part, on the option that he had. This is based, in part, that he’s here already…Is this the way I’d draw it up on a piece of paper if we’d started fresh? Probably not, but that’s not an option.

Direction of Team

As Leiweke has stated in the interview below, he wants the new GM to come in with a “fresh perspective” and evaluate this roster for what it is, not what it is sold to the fans as.  The salary situation, lack of a draft pick, and the questionable roster talent does not make this job easy, and the only course of action is to go there with an unbiased mind and do a keep or cull based on impartial analysis.  It’s Step 1.  Everything else comes after.  The good part about this situation is that this keeping/culling will be done by a man who, as Leiweke explicitly said in the interview below, does not hold players in high regard just because they’re the ones who brought them in.

I have a bit of a disagreement on the current status of the organization and this roster. I guess I don’t think we’re right there. I don’t think we’re a piece away, I think we have work to do. I think in the last five years we’ve made mistakes. We’re a team knocking on the luxury tax that has zero draft picks this year, and we have to improve on this roster but we don’t have a lot of resources to do it. I find it ironic that people think that that, at the end of the day, would give me a high degree of comfort. That said, Bryan has a different opinion and I respect that opinion, but somebody had to make a decision and someone did.

We got to find somebody that is extremely good and rational at looking at this roster and reaching the right conclusions about who’s going to work and who’s not going to work. Sometimes you got to find a new set of eyes and a new opinion in order to judge a roster and not be personal about a player because you chose him. Or you used the first pick in the first round to pick a player. Sometimes it’s easier for a guy coming in that doesn’t have that loyalty, and doesn’t have the burden of being the guy that made that decision, you reach better conclusion at times on how needs to stay and who needs to go.

We want someone that is not afraid of making trades, we want someone that is not burderend by ultimately saying, ‘God, I feel bad about making this move because I brought this guy into the organization’.

Refreshing stuff, eh?

Masai Ujiri back in Toronto as the new GM?

Couldn’t care less that the Raptors let him walk away and now may want him back. Remember, not valuing him was Bryan Colangelo’s decision and most basketball decisions he made were bad.  I like the way the Denver team is built and even though his track record isn’t extensive, it’s filled with moves that accumulate to something, rather than blindly running into walls. Also, he did well on the ‘Melo trade.  Right now, I have faith that Leiweke will make the right hire.

Don’t be fooled by the search firm

The firm the Raptors have hired to look for a GM should not be read as the firm picking the GM, or even suggesting a candidate.  It’s due diligence being done on the part of MLSE so they don’t look like Leiweke’s bringing in a pre-handpicked candidate.  Think of it as analytics for GM hiring, you need someone to crunch over resumes, do filtering based on transactions and come up with a “statistically” relevant list of candidates.  This is speculation, but I find it very hard to believe that Leiweke doesn’t have someone very particular in mind for the role.  I mean, if Phil Jackson wanted the job, he’d have it no matter what the firm thought.

The 13th pick is available, the Raptors should select Dennis Schroeder

DX :: YouTube He’s a good-shooting point guard that can change speeds, read the defense well, and get teammates involved. I project him to be a better version of Aaron Brooks, and if things go well, a Ty Lawson type player.  He’ll address the dire three-point shooting need which was made worse by Calderon leaving, and can up the tempo without being erratic.  You might be wondering where we get this pick from, well, Dallas is looking to off-load theirs.

I would not be surprised if the Raptors acquire a pick, and Leiweke as much stated the importance of the draft:

We need somebody that understands drafting and development well, we cannot make bad decision with our draft picks going forward. The great organizations maximize their good draft picks when they get him, and if you don’t want to be drafting in the top of the first round each and every year, you better make sure you do a great job when you’re there and get out of it. There’s a lot of organizations like OKC and San Antonio that I have a lot of respect for because when they had those high picks, they used them extremely well and they weren’t back in that position for a long period time. That’s what we need to do.

TSN Radio is better than the Fan 590 (or whatever they call it now)

Both teams can’t be bothered to given an NBA update, but all in all, the hosts on TSN Radio is, in my opinion, are superior, more objective, and frankly better than what the Fan offers.  Particularly, I’m a fan of David Naylor in the evenings and do give him a listen now that my free XM Radio period has run out. Good stuff.

 Tim Leiweke Interview Audio

Again, this is from TSN Radio.

The interview is on iTunes and you can also download the file (12:48, 12 MB). Or just listen below: