"The Summer of George!," or, Being Cautiously Optimistic That a New Era Has Begun for the Toronto Raptors

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Today's likely announcement that Bryan Colangelo will be replaced as the Toronto Raptors' President and General Manager has Adam Francis experiencing a long-dormant vantage point; optimism.

Let me start by saying that I get it.

Replacing Bryan Colangelo doesn't necessarily guarantee a big improvement in wins and outlook for the Toronto Raptors.

Fine.

But as we've learned these past five or so seasons, it can't be much worse.

So while the news that Colangelo has been shifted from basketball operations to who knows what on the corporate side at MLSE isn't quite official, you can't blame me for feeling a bit like Costanza in the first 30 seconds of this:


It appears to be a new beginning at last, something so many of us have been pining for for quite some time. Regardless of who replaces Colangelo the key piece is that indeed, he will be replaced, with Masai Ujiri continuing to be the front-runner for the position from MLSE's perspective.

The champagne is on ice, and ready to go once we get the final official word, likely later today.

Obviously there are still a number of concerns, not the least of which the way this whole thing was handled and what this might mean regarding future executive decisions.

And while Masai apparently is intrigued by the opportunity to take control here in Toronto, it's hard to fathom why he'd bolt from his current situation save MLSE dumping a heap load of cash more than anyone else can offer. (He's apparently already turned down overtures from the 76ers.)

Oh.

And having Colangelo sticking around, even in a non-basketball-related role...that promises to be interesting.

Assuming of course he decides to take on such a role.

But right now I don't care.

This in many ways is my "Summer of George."

(And depending on MLSE's next moves, I'm fully aware that it could end in the same manner.)

The last three, four years have been long ones and had Colangelo been retained, frankly, I'm not sure how much longer I would have been able to continue on with the HQ. Witnessing the same errors being made over and over was wearing on me, and wearing on fans and readers, which as we all know, didn't exactly make for the most positive community.

The whole thing strikes me as somewhat ironic because even in the befuddled years of Rob Babcock, the man BC was supposed to save fans from, I felt that there was a greater sense of optimism. No one loved Hoffa or the VC trade obviously, but many of his smaller moves from signing Jose Calderon to drafting Charlie Villanueva had at least a "wait-and-see" feel to them.

With Colangelo the past four, five years, it's been pretty much the opposite.

Signing Hedo Turkoglu, extending Andrea Bargnani, trading for Rudy Gay, and on and on.

You could see the train coming a mile away on those transactions so to speak, and that's never a good thing for a GM. (The National Post's Bruce Arthur does a nice job here, summing up Colangelo's legacy.) In NBA basketball like most pro sports, you're either selling wins or selling hope, and by the end of his tenure, Colangelo was doing neither.

While he produced two more playoff appearances than his predecessor, Colangelo leaves the franchise in perhaps an even a worse state, maxed-out in salary and with very few 'future chips" in terms of draft picks and trade options. Whoever grabs the reigns following Colangelo's removal from the driver's seat, they'll certainly have their work cut out for them.

Again though, that's a focus for another day.

For now, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy this a bit. We all should.

Because with this organization, who knows what's on the horizon.

The Nuggets may not even allow the Raptors to talk to Ujiri, Ed Stefanski might be promoted into the GM role, and Andrea Bargnani might instituted as next year's starting power forward.

But we'll deal with those happy thoughts later.

Now where's that block of cheese...

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