One of the worst contract signings in Toronto Raptors history
Grunwald really struggled to try to figure out the Raptors frontcourt. In addition to the failed Hakeem Olajuwon deal, the drafting of Aleksandar Radojevic, there is the free-agent signing of Michael “Yogi” Stewart.
Stewart was a six-foot ten-inch center who was signed by the Sacramento Kings in 1997. As a rookie, he led the Sacramento Kings in blocked shots with 195, or an average of 2.4 per game. In January of 1998, the Toronto Raptors signed Stewart as a free agent, and in the 1999 off-season, he was re-signed to a six-year, $24 million contract as recounted in a Torontostar.com article by Doug Smith.
Stewart is the epitome of how sports franchises have way too much money on their payroll because they spend it so carelessly. In three and a half seasons, he played a total of 121 games in a Raptors uniform, never averaging more than two points or 10 minutes per game.
In 2002, the Raptors traded Stewart, and a first-round draft pick, to acquire Lamond Murray from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raptors saving grace between the botched Radojevic drafting and the Stewart signing was 1999 trade to acquire power forward Antonio Davis who wound up playing center for the Toronto Raptors until he was traded in 2003.