In what may be a speed record for such things, Masai Ujiri, the poppin’ fresh General Manager of the Toronto Raptors, has already begun a purge of the suits. Ed Stefanski, the Assistant General Manager, was released Sunday, as was Jim Kelly and several others from the scouting ranks. All smoke signals indicate further scouting and possibly Assistant Coaching “changes” (that word means “firings”, folks, everywhere except in CorporateLand) are to be expected. I hope Alvin Williams is not shown the door. He’s been a fan favorite since he came to Toronto, and I think he’s been helpful in his current role – plus he’s a super guy! Without doubt Tim Leiweke fully supports Masai’s purge…the GM reports directly to him, not to the Minister Without Portfolio, a.k.a. team President Bryan Colangelo.
I don’t necessarily have a problem with wholesale firings (let’s face it – these guys weren’t getting it done) unless little or no thought has been given to the question of who’s going to step into the breach. We’ll watch with interest to see how Ujiri backfills the scouting ranks. Of particular concern is the unsettled future of coach Dwane Casey, although the consensus of opinion among the pundits is that he’ll be retained. I have to wonder about that – will Casey stick around if and when many of his Assistants are turfed? It seems unlikely to me. Maybe Ujiri is hoping coach will resign.
I also wonder whether the bloodletting among the lower-echelon brains trust might be a precursor to what’s going to happen to the roster. Will Ujiri decide Colangelo, his former boss and champion, was in fact an idiot, and all his work must be undone? As I tried to demonstrate recently, the front-line talent on the Raptors is certainly competitive. The rotation players are not up to the task, and if I were Ujiri, I’d be laser-focused on improving team depth.
One thing is certain: the zombie state of the Raptors’ front office is history.
Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.