Masai, you're putting us to sleep

The latest news out of Raptor-land is the imminent departure via amnesty of Linas Kleiza. While the move has not been confirmed by the team itself, any other result would be a huge surprise. Kleiza is no doubt itching to play somewhere, but it wasn’t Toronto late last season. Even when he was allegedly healthy, he was nailed to the bench, and there was no reason to think his status would change. Hence, he’s paid out, and can take his free money, and his rapidly breaking down body, elsewhere. Meanwhile, the disgruntled Marcus Camby twists in the wind, but his status is for another time.

December 16, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Raptors forward-guard Linas Kleiza (11) slam dunks against the Houston Rockets at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

This dreary first summer of Masai Ujiri’s tenure as General Manager continues with a second roster maneuver (the first being the Bargnani trade) that couldn’t be more predictable. Oh sure, our GM has also lined up a few backup point guards to flesh out training camp. Yawn.

I didn’t want our team blown up. The thought of another 3 years of losing while rebuilding (Please….NO) was nauseating. Unlike so many other NBA GMs in this Year of the Tank, Masai has resisted the temptation, for which I’m grateful. But that’s about all he’s done so far that I agree with. Masai was brought back to Toronto in part for his ability to make useful trades under duress (a point Greg Hall has made on this blog), and partly for his remarkably wide net of contacts and assorted ear-whisperers. I fully expected a steady procession of minor signings of unknown (to me at least) international players. So far, nada. The Summer League entry is being led by Valanciunas, Ross and Acy, established players all.

If our GM’s profile were any lower, you couldn’t find it with a microscope. I’m talking in a wider context, like making a serious effort to reconnect with fans. A couple of videos, a few radio interviews – weak. His roster rebuild has consisted of tinkering. If Tim Leiweke had wanted someone in the GM’s chair to do nothing but safe moves, he didn’t need to bring in Ujiri. Hell, I would have taken the gig – and probably accepted less money than the big cake waved under Masai’s nose.

Come on Masai, surprise us. The honeymoon is just about over.

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: Linas Kleiza Masai Ujiri Toronto Raptors

  • Hoopgirl1st

    Your headline says it all. I haven’t been commenting on your recent posts regarding signings as the news hasbeen less than scintillating. None of the boring “news” is your fault; still, feeling guilty, I was about to send you a note to say “Wake me up if something happens”! I can’t imagine how bad it is for you to have to scrap together postings when you have nothing to work with.

    As for the new guys in town, Messrs. Leiweke and Ujiri (some of the so called
    “Leaders” at MLSE according to the MLSE website), I’ve known accountants that could generate more excitement. Nothing has happened since the
    end of the season to make me look forward to the upcoming season. I’m thinking that the most exciting thing on the floor might well be the Dance Pack. Thanks to Mr. Leiweke’s big idea – changing the name of the team – we may not even have the best mascot in the NBA to entertain us!

    At least in past seasons, the determination of our underpowered, underdog teams could surprise and delight us from time to time as they so often seemed just on the cusp of making the break through to being a playoff team. We could dream in our seats, instead of stewing in this lethargy.

    Maybe they don’t have air conditioning at MLSE HQ; perhaps the apparent torpor that Mr. Leiweke and Mr. Ujiri is the result of the heat and humidity?
    Or do these guys think that these jobs at MLSE are the easiest money
    that they will ever collect as Toronto fans will just keep paying to see
    soccer, hockey and basketball teams that aren’t contenders.

    You two gentlemen need to be more respectful of the fans. Let’s hear what you guys are thinking and envision for the franchises. Give us something to believe!