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New Raptors Management Structure May Work in End, But Why Take the Chance That It Won't?

The Toronto Raptors new management structure is slightly bizarre and potentially problematic, and even if it works out fine, Adam Francis wonders why you'd want to go down this path in the first place.

Kevork Djansezian

Everybody ok?

Everybody now have some time to sort through the copious amounts of Raptor-news that's been flung in our direction the past 48 hours?

There was indeed a whirlwind of information and kudos to the bulk of the Toronto media for doing a great job digging into the situation from all angles.

After the dust has settled we now know a few things.

A) Bryan Colangelo will not be General Manager of the Toronto Raptors next season, nor will he apparently have much, if any, say in future basketball decisions.

B) He will remain on as President however, and the team will find a new GM in the next 30 or so days.

C) Masai Ujiri is still apparently the team's top choice as a replacement for BC, and we'll likely find out in the next 24 hours if the Nuggets will grant the Raps a chance to discuss Bryan Colangelo's recently vacated position, with Ujri.

D) The Dinos will not have their lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. They finished 12th in the lottery on Tuesday night, meaning their pick goes to the Oklahoma City Thunder by way of the Houston Rockets.

E) There's a good chance now with Colangelo at least partly out of the way, RaptorsHQ will continue on.

Those are pretty much the certainties at this point but beyond that, well, who knows.

Already many folks have thrown up lists of potential GM options, some lists bigger than others, and MLSE must be thanking their lucky stars that the club didn't land a top-three pick on Tuesday night, which likely would have necessitated a major speed-up in this "find a new GM" process.

In fact that's one of the various reasons many have used to try and explain the rationale behind keeping Bryan Colangelo with the organization. He knows the league, he can help with the transition, yada, yada, yada.

I can't agree.

I think this is a terrible idea, one articulated better than anyone else by Sam Mitchell, via his recent stint on "Tim & Sid:"

"What GM is going to feel commmmmmfortable, COMFORTABLE, with him still being there every day?" said Mitchell.

"You can not do your job with someone looking over your shoulder."

And I've got to agree, having experienced it first hand.

A couple of years ago, we lost our senior marketing manager to a another company, and so I filled in for him until we hired a replacement. The process took a while, and in the end, I ran our marketing department from front to back for nearly seven months.

So when we hired a replacement, let's just say things didn't go so well for the first while. I found it extremely hard to then have someone with zero knowledge of the company, come in and change the way I had things set up.

And remember, this is me after a seven month stint, not seven years.

Sure the Raptors' situation COULD work. But my question is, why the hell even attempt it? At best it's an awkward transition period that likely prevents the new General Manager from truly, truly getting down to business, and at worst, well...let's not even go there. We're trying to stay positive here.

Michael Grange succinctly wrapped the situation up in a recent article saying:

"There's only one way the Toronto Raptors cabinet shuffle can possibly work, and that's if it actually does work."

Which is to say that if this thing blows up in the very near future, no one's going to be surprised.

And unfortunately we're already seeing signs of a major disconnect.

Colangelo is somehow going to have to swallow his pride, at least until he finds a gig with another team, which frankly I'm hoping is in the coming weeks and prior to the club landing a new GM. Like Mitchell, I worry that no matter how "distant" new MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke tells us that Colangelo's fingers are from the red button, the whole situation will give various top GM options pause. Money certainly talks, but again, why take the chance? If you're a marathon runner about to compete in a big race, why decide to run without laces in your shoes or a good night's rest prior to the excursion? Why put up these potential barricades?

I just don't get it.

From Steve Simmons at the Toronto Sun:

The incoming general manager, whomever he may be, will likely take over the fired general manager's office, will walk the hallways with Colangelo, who believes strongly in where the Raptors happen to be and where they're going (he is nothing if not a passionate advocate).

But he will have no input in basketball.


The whole thing just creates too many potential problems and really, the point of removing your old management regime is to get a fresh start is it not? How can that possibly be 100 per cent attainable now?

In any event, I've now said my piece and really, I'm going to try and look past all of this. Hopefully, the team will indeed grab a new GM that displays many of the characteristics we felt Bryan Colangelo was lacking, from analytical insight to the ability to plot moves several steps in advance, and away we go.

It's just hard not to be disappointed in how all of this unfolded from the jump.

The evaluation on Colangelo should have been completed by season's end, so that a prompt decision regarding his tenure was made, regardless of any Tim Leiweke hiring. As I noted previously, the club has a number of longstanding members such as Jim Kelly, who could easily have kept things going on the draft/scouting side while top executive decisions were being made, and replacements for said execs, found. I just don't believe that keeping Colangelo around was necessary. The club needed a fresh start after five years of playoff-less action, and even longer in terms of any sort of playoff success.

That's not completely happening as of now.

Feelings of relief thanks to the end of Bryan Colangelo's tenure have been replaced by feelings of unease as we wait to see how this murky management structure works out.

And in the end everything may indeed work out just fine.

But after the dust has settled, I'm still left wondering why you'd even take the chance that it won't in the first place.