Regardless of Decision on Colangelo, Raptors Continue to Look Lost at Sea

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

The indecision regarding the status of Toronto Raptors' President and GM Bryan Colangelo continues to paint MLSE as an organization lost in the NBA woods.

It's a busy day in Toronto.

We had an earthquake.

We've got allegations swirling about our mayor smoking crack.

And the post-mortem of the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff collapse continues.

But in terms of decisions regarding the leadership of the Toronto Raptors, we've had the opposite of a busy day.

Or a busy week for that matter.

There's still no decision regarding Bryan Colangelo's future with the Dinos, and as a result, he's in Chicago for the annual pre-draft camp doing his due dilligence, despite a lack of current draft picks and what now essentially equates to a vote of no-confidence from MLSE's leadership.

Or lack of leadership.

As the Toronto Star's Cathal Kelly perfectly detailed yesterday, this is a mess. Yet again this franchise is giving fans an example of how it has no idea what it's doing.

Let's look at this situation.

Either you believe in Colangelo or you don't. There's really no in between.

Because even if you decide to extend BC for another season, the option that had been floated around the most prior to Tim Leiweke's hiring, that still means you believe in Colangelo enough to give him another shot. As much as I'd loathe that decision, at least then it would send fans a clear message that they want to give BC a chance to see this through.

Now though, it's like we're witnessing that awkward dating period where one person doesn't tell the other that they're not interested in continuing the relationship, they just stop answering calls. So the interested party isn't quite sure what's up, and keeps calling, trying to connect until they finally get the message.

Colangelo has presented his vision of the Raptors' future to the board, and has talked to Leiweke, so that should be it. Even in absence of those things, as Kelly notes in his piece, we've heard Colangelo's script enough to know how he wants to run things. I'm not really sure what further evaluation is needed. The board has had a full underwhelming season to base things on, and to avoid recency bias, six seasons before this! It's not like Colangelo was a new-hire at HMV and is now being evaluated just before the three-month probationary period expires.

(Yes, I was fired before my three months at HMV were up because I was buying too many import hip-hop and house CD's at cost.)

So what's the hold up here?

Some have said that the delay is due to processes behind the scenes, such as Leiweke investigating the availability of possible replacements. (Update - according to the Toronto Star, indeed it looks like there now is work going on behind the scenes, and MLSE has "hired a head-hunting firm" to aid in the search for a possible replacement.)

Others have commended Leiweke for not rushing into the process, and have argued that Colangelo's past performance should signal his end. (Which is interesting considering that these same people wrote this last summer. You can't argue "you wouldn't want anyone besides Colangelo running the Raptors" last summer, and then use events from prior to that period as examples as to why he should now be canned.)

These takes are missing the point.

No one's advocating a rush GM-replacement job. That's not helping anyone.

But there's no reason MLSE couldn't make a decision on Colangelo himself, pretty much the moment the season ended, or soon after Leiweke was hired. Again, there's a pretty sizeable amount of data you could use to support a decision, one way or another. In the meantime, if the board did not believe BC was the guy going forward, they could have been doing the necessary behind-the-scenes legwork en route to finding his eventual replacement.

Now fans are left with an image of a boardroom meeting a few weeks ago where someone raised their hand and said "oh, yeah, guess we should probably start looking at the Bryan Colangelo situation and whether to keep him around or not." It's as if no thought was paid to this process at all, and the board sort of passed the buck to Leiweke saying "you deal with this."

I mean, aren't these people well-versed in business acumen and theorem, including something called a contingency plan? If you don't believe in Colangelo, send Ed Stefanski to Chicago or have Jim Kelly and co make the trip. There's at least a modicum of consistency there with Kelly, who's been associated with a big chunk of the drafts in Raptors' history.

In fact I'd argue that the lack of a current pick in the upcoming draft makes this process easier, as Kelly can keep tabs on the draft ongoings, and there isn't this need to worry about fitting a potential pick, with incoming management's style.

So by all means, on that front, take your time.

But why leave Colangelo twisting in the wind here? (I can just imagine some of the conversations Colangelo now has to have with peers while at the pre-draft activities.)

This isn't about feeling sorry for BC because he's been "a beacon of class and professionalism," or unwavering in his dedication to the task. That should be a given, like in any profession.

It's about a Raptors franchise that again is telling fans and the NBA collective that it's not so concerned with being relevant in this realm, nor serious about putting together a winning product. Leiweke now truly needs to be the superstar exec that's been advertised as why on earth would top options for a GM/President position even consider this directionless, capped-out, identity lacking club?

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