Alvin Williams - Gone

My hopes, expressed last week in this space, that Alvin Williams would not get caught in the Toronto Raptors’ front-office purge, have been dashed. According to Doug Smith of The Star, the popular Williams was tossed overboard by Tim Leiweke, MLSE’s new CEO. I join in Smith’s dismay and astonishment.

Alvin gave everything he could as a player, and was the starting point guard for the best Raps’ teams ever, those featuring Vince Carter, Antonio Davis, Charles Oakley et al. He returned to the Raps in 2009 as an Assistant Coach and was named Director of Player Development in 2010, but then was demoted to Scout. Why he didn’t succeed in the Raps’ front office is not for me to say without further investigation.

However, all that is beside the point. What’s wrong isn’t (necessarily) what was done, but how it was done. Why did the the MLSE CEO see fit to do the deed? There’s no way now to make the optics right. Masai Ujiri is the Raps’ GM; he’s got to be the one to pull the trigger on all hires and fires. It’s baffling how an accomplished executive like Leiweke could undermine his new GM like this.

The new administration at MLSE has just had their mulligan. Let’s hope they don’t need another one.

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.

 

 

 

 

Tags: Alvin Williams Masai Ujiri Tim Leiweke Toronto Raptors

  • AM

    Alvin Williams is my favourite all-time Raptor. I was glad he was a part of the franchise in some manner. Why not keep a fan favourite around for the sake of the fans, who, in my opinion, resembles the hustle and loyalty you may want in your franchise? I don’t understand why Leiweke was doing this and not Ujiri. Ujiri knows basketball, Leiweke is a business guy. At least tell Ujiri to do to it and make it seem like your new GM has the power to make these types of decisions rather than using his veto power. I really hope there was some form of communication between Ujiri and Leiweke in this. Frustrating.

  • AM

    Alvin Williams is my favourite all-time Raptor. I was glad he was a part of the franchise in some manner. Why not keep a fan favourite around for the sake of the fans, who, in my opinion, resembles the hustle and loyalty you may want in your franchise? I don’t understand why Leiweke was doing this and not Ujiri. Ujiri knows basketball, Leiweke is a business guy. At least tell Ujiri to do to it and make it seem like your new GM has the power to make these types of decisions rather than using his veto power. I really hope there was some form of communication between Ujiri and Leiweke in this. Frustrating.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi AM: Both my wife and I consider Alvin our favourite Rap, as you do. It hurts to see him pushed away.
      And yes, Ujiri should have done the firing, not Leiweke. I really don’t understand.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • nyStef

    Hard for me to feel anything (really) about Alvin Williams being let go. I liked him as a player but … does the team really have room for positions filled and held for sentimental/symbolic reasons more than what might be practical? If Masai wants to remake the scouting department to what he imagines it could be and Alvin doesn’t quite fit the bill as far as Masai is concerned … what’s the argument, exactly? Also, if I had to wager, I’d say that Leiweke doing the deed was just a way for Masai to keep his hands clean for the moment, during these early days of his reign as GM. It’s far more likely (I’d say) that this was Masai’s doing and that Leiweke just did Masai a small favour by appearing to be the one who pulled the plug.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi nyStef: I hear you about Masai perhaps wanting to rebuild the scouting group. Of course that’s his prerogative, but having Tim dump Alvin is a sloppy way to start. I’m concerned that Tim is going to get a reputation for being tone-deaf to Raps’ fans. Who will man (or woman) the scouting department? It’s one thing to dump those you perceive as underachievers, it’s quite another to find solid replacements.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • nyStef

        I doubt Leiweke cares too much about his rep w Raps fans (hence him firing Alvin as opposed to Masai) as long as the team eventually starts to win. Until then, he won’t even notice what the few like you and Doug Smith and some of their followers are so unhappy about. Real world here, no offense intended (really). But since Alvin was let go and Smith wrote his bit complaining about it, I’ve not been able to figure just what it is that people are upset about … and I’ve not found even one who could tell me what Alvin did for the Raps. So … I just don’t get the hand-wringing. To me, it feels like we’re looking too hard for something to be mad at. Which is strange considering how many there were who *wanted* Colangelo gone. We (fans) can’t have it both ways.

        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi again: No offense taken. Bear in mind I tried to be careful to point out that I wasn’t just miffed at what was done, but how it was done.
          Alvin had a number of roles with the team, including designated glad-hander, which is how I most recently met him. He was also the team’s “welcome to Toronto” greeter for newly acquired players. Are these life & death roles? Hardly, but they have to be done by someone with credibility. Alvin had that.
          Thanks for the thoughtful follow-up.
          P.S. I wasn’t one of those who wanted Colangelo gone. I think the team is close to serious contention. Did the rebuild take too long? Yes, but we’re nearly there.

  • Hoopgirl1st

    Alvin gave everything to the Raptors, in fact he gave too much resulting in injuries that ended his playing career. He inspired all the players around him with his tenacity and skill.

    After he came back on the business end, he was one of the few ex-Raptors who would deign to show up at neighbourhood clinics, other events and was always very gracious.

    If Tim was looking to chop someone, what about some of the other ex “name players” who are lurking around on the payroll. We never hear anything as to what they are doing or have been seen with respect to fan and community events. At least Alvin had a real role: scouting. Whoever signed Alvin’s exit papers has shown little class and couldn’t carry Alvin’s hightops.

    Once again, our family has to say “Fare Well” to Alvin who with Jose Calderon may be our favourite Raptors of all time and I don’t think we are the only fans feel that way.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Hoopgirl: Yes, it’s been a bad year for fans like us with long and happy memories of hustling, giving-everything-they-have players like Alvin and Jose. The Raptors’ head office certainly can’t be accused of being overly sentimental.
      Where’s Jerome Williams?
      Going to stop now…I’m depressing myself.
      Thanks for commenting.