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Reality Bites

Bryan Colangelo spoke on Toronto's Fan590 radio station yesterday evening and while there wasn't much "news" to his comments perhaps, it certainly was a heavy dose of reality, one that raised Franchise's blood temperature a good few notches...

"At some stage you cannot have such an outflow of talent and if Chris leaves, and I've gone ahead and moved Hedo Turkoglu in a separate deal, and we don't have a lot coming back to show for it, this team, probably won't be very good..." - Bryan Colangelo

Well there you have it folks.

The exact scenario most of us at the HQ were ranting and railing against for the past season plus looks to be about a week away.

Bryan Colangelo spoke on the Fan590 yesterday evening and essentially hit Raptors' fans over the head with a dose of reality. While he didn't go as far as saying the team would be competing for a lottery pick again next year, his tone was certainly quite different from that of six weeks ago when he spoke to the media at the season's conclusion.

-What happened to the "we're not far off" line of thought?

-What happened to the "it's not the doom-and-gloom situation everyone is making it out to be?"

Remember, this is the same man who said the following at his end-of-season presser:

"It's important that this so-called frenzy that's occuring right now, this very negative picture that's being painted about our situation is not as doom and gloom as many want to make it. And I say this with great confidence. We have already gone through an assessment...of where we are, where we fell short, what areas of weakness we have, and what we need to address. And those issues will be resolved and be fixed in this off-season. And we're starting at a place much further along I would say than some people would like to think."

I'm not sure about you, but losing Bosh, having an unsavory Hedo Turkoglu, and relying on the likes of Sonny Weems and DeMar DeRozan doesn't seem to be "starting at a place much further along than some people think."

And this is where my anger comes in.

I'm not angry at Bosh. He put in his time valiantly, unlike Vince Carter, and while he hasn't taken the team to the proverbial promised land, the fact of the matter is that he doesn't impact the game the way the LeBron's and Kobe's do, and hasn't been surrounded by the proper talent to allow for that maximize impact. He's within his full rights to move on and if so, I wish him the best of luck.

No, my anger is directed towards Bryan Colangelo, who somehow took a team with a solid core and one of the top 3 power forwards in the game, and reduced it to a potential 28 win team with little cap flexibility, no star power and a host of immovable pieces.

As Howland put it so appropriately in a comment to yesterday's post:

"I have no doubt Rob Babcock could have gotten this team to this point."

In fact he did.

He was the one who started the rebuild and for all the shimmer and shine of Bryan Colangelo, he barely improved upon what Babcock had started.

These are facts.

-An average of 40 wins a season under his tenure (sub .500.)

-Two playoff births yet none that lasted past the first round.

-An Atlantic Division title in a year when the rest of the division averaged 33 wins.

Folks that's just not very good, and now it sounds like Colangelo is going to have to start all over again.

Again, I like the rebuild idea, it's something I've been advocating for a couple of seasons now and why I despised the band-aid approach that saw Toronto ship off JO for rent-a-Marion, and the Hedo Turkoglu signing. There were major cracks in this team's foundation from day one, and yet management was simply too proud to address them, didn't have the foresight to understand their impact, or a combination of both. So yes, I'm on board with tearing things down and starting over.

However four years into a GM's tenure, this shouldn't be the case, and that's why this whole situation makes my blood boil, and should make yours as well. At this point Colangelo should have been fine-tuning the roster for a push deeper into the playoffs. It's not like he came in and had to spend the next three seasons clearing out bad contracts! No, Rob Babcock did most of that! (Whether you agreed with the way he did it is another topic of course.)

Colangelo came in talking about building a contender and has instead delivered a team that now sounds like it could be centered around a player who bad-mouthed the franchise and publicly stated he hoped to be anywhere but here, just 3 weeks ago!

As for Bosh, well, this is the crux of everything for me.

BC had numerous "kicks at the can" as I've been calling it, to get things right around him and simply didn't. Not only that, when the writing was on the wall about CB4's possible departure, he refused to make a move to try and mimize the damage.

In his talk yesterday on The Fan590 he acknowledged this but stated that the offers he was getting for Bosh were simply not up to his standards:

" was never anything that (made me say) yeah, let's fold the cards up now and trade away our best player so we can avoid losing him for nothing..."

Give me a break.

Are you telling me that you couldn't have at least gotten something useful for Bosh last season? Not even a second-round draft pick or some expiring deals?

The truth is, and Colangelo completes the quote above by admitting to this in the radio interview , BC refused to see the writing on the wall, over-estimated how good his team was going to be, and thought the best course of action would be to ride it out.

Now, his hands are tied and if Bosh decides to go to a team like Miami who can pay him max dollars without having to give up anything in return, Toronto is screwed.

And to that end, I thought this quote from the interview was particularly painful to hear:

"Whether or not we get something back is out of our control, it was always out of our control..."

That's not what BC had been preaching the past couple of seasons. Raptors fans seemed convinced that not only was there going to be a guaranteed sign-and-trade situation at worst, but also that in all likelyhood, a very talented player was coming in exchange for Bosh's services!


(Insert cricket noise.)

If nothing comes back in return for Bosh, then it's time to make a run at Harrison Barnes and co. in next year's draft. and clear the deck.

Because to me even with the departure of Chris Bosh looming on the horizon, an even scarier thought is that Colangelo doesn't actually rebuild. Instead, he tries to string together some combination of over-the-hill and/or over-paid vets for next season, protecting his ego and attempting to keep the corporate folks on board thus prolonging the inevitable.

That simply can't happen and hopefully BC at least has the guts to admit this to himself, even if he can't to the casual fan or season ticket holder.

Colangelo needs to get real about what he now has to work with; a number of over-paid and under-performing established players, some interesting yet completely unproven youth, and a few solid pieces like Jarrett Jack.

He needs to do everything he can to clear the dead weight and really look towards the future, because there's nothing worse than trying to sell a team with little promise to fans and business.

Oh...and on that "looking towards the future" note, Bryan, I've taken the liberty of signing you up in the "Sam Presti School of General Management."