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.
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.