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.
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.