He returns to town for the first time on Friday. What kind of reception will he receive? Hopefully it won’t be the treatment Toronto faithful have reserved for noted traitors Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh, or for all-world loafers Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu. There’s a lot of blame to be shared for the failed Rudy Gay experiment in Toronto and Gay even needs to accept some of it, but if you’re looking for people to fault over his inconsequential time here, pre-Tim Leiweke Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Ltd. would be must deserving of your scorn.
While Gay could have been a better teammate — too often he ignored the other four Raptors on the court, playing a selfish, ineffective brand of basketball and he also could have given a more consistent effort at the defensive end of the floor, given his natural abilities and length — he still played hard and had some moments as a Raptor. The team brought him in to be a star and he acted like one. Should he be reviled for that?
Colangelo had been left to dangle in the wind, with ownership unwilling to make a call on his future. Having already admirably waited a year on Jonas Valanciunas, of course he was going to pursue a big-name player with the months ticking away on his contract. Why did MLSE allow him to is the big question, given his tenuous future. Simply put, MLSE made a mistake.
Not enough thought was given to the impossibility of getting Gay to mesh with DeMar DeRozan, a player who also liked the ball in his hands and had limited range. Or to how adding one of the league’s highest-paid players would impact the team’s financial picture moving forward. Sure, Leiweke wasn’t around to give a sober second thought at the time, but why didn’t anybody else provide it? What was the rush and why was Colangelo given the power to make such an important call
when Cope, for one, like a member of the previous board, was far from sold on Colangelo?