As you likely saw early yesterday evening, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment announced that they had hired Tim Leiweke as the new president and CEO of the company.
Who's Tim Leiweke you ask?
Bruce Arthur's piece in the National Post from late last night answers that question pretty well.
However more interesting for us Raptor fans is what may come with his hiring.
After news of the hiring broke, an ESPN report emerged that the Dinos were going to make a run at former Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls coaching great, Phil Jackson.
SAY THAT AGAIN???
From the ESPN report, apparently Leiweke's hiring suddenly opens the door to this possibility as:
"Leiweke is a major player in the sports industry and Jackson is very familiar with his work in Los Angeles, where Leiweke helped get the Staples Center built for the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers as well as the NHL's Kings. Leiweke also has a longstanding working relationship with Lakers executive Jeanie Buss, Jackson's fiancee."
Now, as Sportsnet's Michael Grange points out, hiring Leiweke doesn't guarantee an NBA Championship. Much like my article yesterday on the season that was, its the players in the end that need to deliver.
And Phil Jackson's been stellar when he's coaching a group of top-notch talent.
The Raptors right now have...aaah, well, they've got some NBA guys.
However it's hard not to read a lot of this news and be extremely excited, especially because for starters, it may mean the end of the Bryan Colangelo roller coaster ride. Colangelo is set to present to the MLSE board on May 7th apparently, and let's just say he's now probably going to be doubling up on the deodorant under his infamous high-collared Italian shirts.
The ESPN report notes that prior to this hiring, MLSE was strongly considering retaining both Colangelo and his coach, Dwane Casey.
Now though, things aren't so certain, and Leiweke's arrival at the very least gives many of us fans some light at the end of the tunnel, whether this means a play for Jackson, or someone else.
Said Leiweke yesterday:
"The Raptors have 36-million fans (as the only NBA team in Canada); it's the No.1 market in the NBA I want them to act like it. I want them to be the dominant franchise in the NBA. And in order to do that we have a lot of work to do there."
Let's hope that work starts with replacing a certain former Mr. Legomaster.