alvin williams

I like Alvin Williams as much as the next guy and hope he lands somewhere because he is the ultimate ‘nice guy’. Seeing him unemployed doesn’t feel right, yet at the same time there’s something about this move that is quite different than what we’re used to seeing from the Raptors. There’s an element of ruthlessness in it that is surprising, and dare I say it, refreshing.

[Related: Alvin Williams’ interview on TSN Radio (a little sad, still says ‘we’)]

The value that Alvin Williams brought was always debatable from a fan standpoint, but a frank conversation about him was never had, mostly because it seemed a very minor role – almost like an internship. Low risk, low expectations. I doubt his departure has created a significant void of any sort; or maybe we’ll regret it in a few years when he’s become a super-scout and close to becoming a GM? I don’t know, but here and now, this appears to be culling of excess. Despite the media faithful lamenting the loss of a friend and calling it a bizarre PR move (Star, Post, Sun), I would contend that the organization should focus on making decisions with basketball value in mind, not PR.

This also gets me to thinking that if a loyal servant of the organization such as Williams is shown the door in this cold-hearted manner, what chance does someone like Andrea Bargnani, or for that matter any overpaid, under-delivering employee have? None, I would suggest. Where does this leave guys like Linas Kleiza or Landry Fields, questionable signings that have provided little to negligible value?

Masai Ujiri’s firm hand has shown that he does not intend his management team to have any ties with the organization’s past, which makes Bryan Colangelo’s move to his new role essentially insignificant. Ujiri’s certainly proven that he’s very good at firing people, and these exits will win him support among frustrated fans, and even sell a few season tickets to those who gave up a while ago, since nothing sells like hope. With each departure, though, the anticipation of Ujiri’s first real move grows.

The draft, this space would suggest, provides an opportunity to make a move for improvement. Dennis Schroeder is my pick in the teens, but even if the Raptors don’t intend to partake in the draft, it presents a platform to get involved as a third team. Whether it be shedding Andrea Bargnani or scavenging around other developments for opportunities, this is where Ujiri has a chance to make an early mark.

Any time a GM inherits a situation as rigid as the Raptors they are going to get some leeway and time to settle in, but as it stands there is a necessity for certain moves to be made just to field a roster! With $66 million in salary tied to 12 players, you have to wonder how the Raptors can even field a 15-man roster, especially if the amnesty is exercised. Acquiring a teen pick and paying a salary of around $1.5 million seems like a sensible way to add a player while keeping costs low. Easier said than done, of course.

If all else fails, the following I figure is the “backup” plan:

  • Amnesty Andrea Bargnani if there are no takers
  • Flip Linas Kleiza’s expiring contract for a teen pick
  • Draft with the pick, assuming it’s a teen pick, the net savings considering Kleiza’s contract are $3.5 million
  • At this point, the Raptors would be under the cap at $54.9 million, giving them a chance to actually sign someone

I’m not going to speculate on more drastic options such as trading one of DeRozan or Gay due to their games being similar. That’s a debate for later.

So…final word is regarding Alvin Williams: Let not our emotions affect our judgement of Alvin Williams’ departure.

  • Lucas

    I’m quite certain your third point at the end is incorrect; no team is going to send us ONLY a draft pick for Kleiza. What they might do is send us a pick AND a longer contract (hopefully a useful role player), in exchange for Kleiza. They get a salary dump, and we get a draft pick.

  • DanH

    One note – after the salary moves you describe, the Raptors’ salary commitments would sit at 57.6M, leaving either a signing of about 3 M plus the room MLE of another 3 M, or a single signing of the full MLE. So, the moves effectively free up no ability to sign anyone the team couldn’t have signed anyway.

    Plus, no way a team takes back Kleiza for just a draft pick – his value as an expiring is that the other team could dump a longer salary in return.

  • Guest

    “This also gets me to thinking that if a loyal servant of the organization such as Williams is shown the door in this cold-hearted manner, what chance does someone like Andrea Bargnani, or for that matter any overpaid, under-delivering employee have? None, I would suggest. Where does this leave guys like Linas Kleiza or Landry Fields, questionable signings that have provided little to negligible value?”

    It’s easy to fire a front office employee. It’s not easy to just let go of players under contract, while dealing with CBA rules and being at the mercy of other teams that aren’t willing to give up assets for these kinds of players. This point doesn’t really make much sense.

    Also, Kleiza can’t just be traded straight up for a pick. And even if he could be, I doubt anyone is taking him in June, considering someone would have to pick up his salary for the entire season. If anything his value is higher around the trade deadline, when a team can inherit his expiring deal, and only has to pay about half of his salary. This is a pretty poor article, to be honest.

  • Guest

    “This also gets me to thinking that if a loyal servant of the organization such as Williams is shown the door in this cold-hearted manner, what chance does someone like Andrea Bargnani, or for that matter any overpaid, under-delivering employee have? None, I would suggest. Where does this leave guys like Linas Kleiza or Landry Fields, questionable signings that have provided little to negligible value?”

    It’s easy to fire a front office employee. It’s not easy to just let go of players under contract, while dealing with CBA rules and being at the mercy of other teams that aren’t willing to give up assets for these kinds of players. This point doesn’t really make much sense.

    Also, Kleiza can’t just be traded straight up for a pick. And even if he could be, I doubt anyone is taking him in June, considering someone would have to pick up his salary for the entire season. If anything his value is higher around the trade deadline, when a team can inherit his expiring deal, and only has to pay about half of his salary.

    Besides, even if they could free up some money this offseason, they still have too much money tied up in other players to really get a player that’s going to make a significant impact in the long term.

  • robertparrish00

    I never really understood his role, thinking he had more of a coaching position. But I read somewhere he was basically around to scout talent out of Phillie. Its too bad when someone you like loses his job, but he didn’t exactly sound necessary either.

  • robert_

    Realistically, the Raptors would only consider amnestying players with expiring contracts on its roster. The Raptors are owned by a big time sports corporation in the MLSE and it will make little financial sense for the MLSE to have a player like Bargnani essentially be waived with no return on investment. At this point and time with how the Raptors team contracts are currently structured, the Raptors are better off waiting for a contract like Bargnani’s go into the final year and leave the possibility of receiving assets in return via a trade rather than going the other route getting absolutely nothing in return. To fill out the current roster, the Raptors will get better value by signing minimum salary contract type players instead of those players eligible for the MLE which historically have not worked well for the Raptors over the years. Using the amnesty will only facilitate getting another MLE type player for the Raptors. The Raptors should just save what little ammo they have this offseason and wisely wait for the right opportunity.

  • tonious35

    I think the message Tim Leiweke and Masai Ujiri are going with is: we are trying to win games and playoffs, not stroke the d***s of fans.

  • KaioKev

    What kind of BC pr spin bullchit is going on? LiewekeBCUjiriCaseyMarkEversleyMLSELarryTannenbaumBellRogersTheCRTCgotstogo!!!!

  • Duncan

    i think that your backup plan is actually a very good plan. we get rid of a lot of cash, and we can get a good backup like schroeder :)
    and in free agency, go after someone like millsap? im not sure how much we pay him per year since im no good with the money stuff. any ideas?

  • knowledgep

    Need to change the personnel in order to change the culture. I don’t mind this move, it aligns with all the talk we’ve heard from TL and UM. Looks like this team actually has a vision and purpose in the works, the wheels are turning!

  • Sprechen

    What idiot is going to give up a teen pick for Linas Kleiza?

  • Guest

    Must be easy to armchair GM when you think a reasonable “backup” plan entails getting a teen pick for Kleiza’s expiring contract. Seriously? Either we have to throw in a pick to make someone take Kleiza off our hands for nothing, or the only reason his expiring contract has value (relatively speaking, considering how low his salary is) is to take on a larger or longer financial commitment. There would more likely be a net gain in cap commitments between the returning financial commitment and the teen pick.

  • Al

    Why would anyone give up a pick for Kleiza? And let’s assume we can actually sign someone. Then we are stuck again with Gay, Lowry and Derozan hoping at best to get kicked out at the first round. Sounds like y’all enjoy mediocrity