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Tim Leiweke: A light at the end of the tunnel?

Kinnon Yee explores just how Bell and Rogers' hiring Tim Leikweke has changed his outlook on the Raptors.


It starts at the top.

Change is coming folks, and making changes above Bryan Colangelo is the first sign of hope for a Raptors fan base who is tired of of the former Legomaster and his "playsets".

No matter what you may think about the Bell/Rogers consortium that now owns the Raptors, they are definitely companies that recognize the value of sports and the need for good sports to pad their bottom line.

More and more people are switching away from cable and going to the internet to source their TV programming.

Love Hannibal? Grab it on Blu Ray or a torrent site.

Want to watch the best movies? Netflix is improving in Canada on a daily basis.

Heck, it's even worse in the States with Hulu and individual network sites.

Sports though, are still king for making sure subscribers keep their TV packages. And while NBA League Pass has made strides, the majority of people still like to watch it all on TV. You generally don't want to wait for sports, you want to see it live, on the biggest and best feed you can get.

When the board at MLSE hired Tim Leiweke, the first talk and buzz came about the Phil Jackson rumour. To me, that rumour shouldn't matter as much. What matters is that Tim Leiweke is a winner is most importantly, an American who values basketball as much as hockey.

Yes, I said it.

He understands the importance of the NBA and the untapped market that are the Raptors. Heck, he even said it was a priority for him to strengthen the Raptors on his conference call.

Which to me, means only really one thing to me.

Bryan Colangelo's days are numbered.

After all, as a CEO, there are only a few things that Tim Leiweke can really control. For one, he can control the purse strings as needed, but more importantly, he's going to want to control those directly below him. If he's a shrewd an evaluator as his tenure in L.A. has indicated, he's going to want to bring the Raptors in line with what he knows as "winning basketball".

Colangelo's track record in Toronto has not been a good indicator of winning basketball to say the least, and perhaps more fundamentally, Bryan has had free run with the entire Raptors franchise because MSLE never seemed to have someone to tell them otherwise.

To me, that says that we're going to see two guys that have their own vision on things, and unless Bryan Colangelo is shown the door, it's going to lead to a lot of friction in the future.

Which is why the Tim Leiweke hiring brings me hope. This is only a first step, but MLSE has hired a CEO that understands the importance of winning and has emphasized that basketball is a priority. Winning may not come quickly, but change sure can and MLSE has opened up a beam of light to the dark season that was 2012-2013.

The narrative before this hiring was how many more years would be stuck behind Bryan Colangelo's incompetence because MLSE simply didn't have a better candidate.

Now the question is how can Bryan Colangelo possibly be retained when Tim Leiweke is above him and very hands-on about the people surrounding him.

Bryan Colangelo is adrift at sea.

Tim Leiweke is the tide of change.