Prior to the beginning of last season, Tim Leiweke took a shot at Bryan Colangelo. Despite Colangelo’s humiliation and departure from Toronto following Leiweke’s arrival as MLSE President, Tim couldn’t resist saying how dismayed he was that the Raptors had no draft pick in 2013. Our pick was conveyed to Houston (along with trivia-contest answer Gary Forbes) as the price of acquiring Kyle Lowry. One assumes, hindsight being 20-20, Leiweke now realizes the deal was a huge win for Toronto, and that his scathing comment was premature and clearly out of line. I don’t expect Leiweke to call up Colangelo and apologize. After all, our team is still paying a price for Colangelo’s mis-steps, and we are likely to until the ’14-’15 season is in the books.
Masai Ujiri began to unravel BC’s biggest messes when he performed some sort of Vulcan mind meld on the New York Knicks. While in their stupor, Andrea Bargnani became a Knick, and actual value was returned to Toronto. Then Masai came to the same conclusion as the rest of the planet, namely, Rudy Gay as a Raptor was a losing proposition. Fortunately for Raps fans, Masai was in a position to actually do something about our Designated Ballstopper, and dealt him to Sacramento. Four supposed rotation-grade-only players came back, all of whom turned out to have value. Three are still around (Hayes, Vasquez, Patterson), and the latter two have decided to return, to our considerable relief. Chuck’s deal expires this season, and while he’s massively over-paid, he has some value as backup to Jonas Valanciunas. John Salmons was dealt to Atlanta, for a decent return (Lou Williams and Lucas Nogueira), which is certainly better than paying him a million bucks to go away.
Finally, there’s Landry Fields. I feel badly for Colangelo here, as there’s no way for him to have known Landry was going to become a medical shipwreck. However, he did, and unless Landry somehow contrives to have an All-Star season in his last go-round as a Rap, this deal has been a disaster. We could “spotlight” Landry in pre-season games, in the hope some naive GM falls in love, but I doubt anyone will be interested in paying $8.5M for a wing player who can’t shoot.
Colangelo wasn’t all bad, which is why I started this post with an example of one of his better deals. His draft picks (DeMar, JV, TRoss) have worked out well. His bad deals continue to afflict the team, but Masai has ameliorated much of the pain in far shorter order than I would have thought possible. I feared two seasons or more of bloated contracts and dismal play by Colangelo’s choices, but Masai has dumped the worst deals in one regular- and two off-seasons. We can live with Landry and Chuck; due to Masai’s magic, Colangelo’s mistakes are all but gone with the wind.