For the first time in forever we have a guy at the top of the corporation running the Raptors and Leafs that appears to be bullish about winning. So he comes off a little brash and know-it-all when he speaks, but that’s great. NO! That’s awesome. Tim Leiweke is a guy who has come in and evaluated the Raptors with an accuracy of 100%, and then has had the cahones to make the moves that need making, and that too swiftly. In this process he’s apparently hurt some feelings (Link 1, Link 2) and now needs to apologize to people who have been cajoled and fed by Bryan Colangelo all these dreadful years.
I get that we’re Canadians and value politeness. However, when Leiweke came in and ruffled the nest of lies by speaking harsh realities, the reaction by some people has been to focus on the manner of delivery rather than the actions. And it’s actions that matter, never delivery, especially when it comes to success. I’m glad that Leiweke has put people in their place, introduced accountability, and is trying to introduce a culture of winning, not just on the court and ice, but also in the hallways of MLSE.
There was a time when Leafs and Raptors fans had created firepeddie.com in hopes of getting rid of the man who had overseen so many failures, while still somehow holding on to the job. Now, after all these years the fans have gotten their wish and every one of us is looking ahead to this transformation (i.e., we’ve drunk the Kool-aid). Let us enjoy the high and look forward to what is most definitely a new era with the Raptors, as evidenced by the deep cleansing of MLSE. If some people were offended at the perceived ill treatment of Bryan Colangelo, then they’re focusing on the wrong things are are missing the point.
People are criticizing Leiweke for not having “Canadian Sensibility”. I’d much rather have a dose of American Brashness as long as it means winning. We’ve long been plagued by being too nice, handing out undeserved contracts to players (e.g., Turkoglu, Kapono, Kleiza, Fields, Jack), doling out front-office jobs (e.g., Alvin Williams, Jerome Williams), playing favorites (e.g., Andrea Bargnani, Turkoglu’s fatigue), and giving weird perks (e.g., Kendra Davis, Vince Carter’s Mom). I hate that and never want to be part of it again. These kinds of decisions don’t need to be dealt with sensibility but wrath and Leiweke has delivered on that front. Personally, I like the ferocity of the Bryan Colangelo purge because it sends a clear message that what had been going on will not stand. I’d have it no other way.
I have no doubt that Leiweke has already gotten some people rooting against him, wanting him to fail just so they can throw that perceived arrogance back in his face. Instead of appreciating the openness he brings we’re worrying about how “it was hugely important to hear him be conciliatory toward Bryan, who did the very best he could in seven years”. Who cares about Bryan Colangelo? He’s gone and it doesn’t matter if some of us were friends with him, the fans don’t need to hear how Leiweke wasn’t nice to him – I wouldn’t be nice to the guy who wasted seven years of the franchise and fooled fans year in and year out. Leiweke was nice enough to offer him the job of PRESIDENT OF THE TORONTO RAPTORS for God sakes. I don’t know if you can be much nicer than that to a guy who has put the franchise in such a hole and missed the playoffs for five straight years in a weak East while having a top ten payroll every year.
In the short time Ujiri has been at the job the Raptors have signed three players to reasonable deals (Buycks, Augustin, Hansbrough), traded away a big problem (Bargnani), and have managed to construct a functional roster while operating under heavy cap constraints. They worked extremely hard on draft night and had at least 20 deal scenarios worked out to get into the later stages of the first round, only for none to work out. We’re moving in the right direction and that’s where the focus needs to be.