I remember when listening to Bryan Colangelo would put my mind at ease. It wasn't that long ago when this would occur. This despite the fact I have not agreed with a number of his major moves over the years. That being said, I always felt he had a plan and a direction for the franchise. This year was no different except for the fact that his plan was exposed and fell apart in front of the world. His latest appearance on the Fan 590 earlier this week, he engaged in PR spin over Chris Bosh. Honestly whether Chris Bosh would or wouldn't play on a bad ankle does nothing for the Raptors now. It seems painfully obvious that Chris had no intention of staying regardless of the Raptors playoff fate. I also don't disagree with him sitting out. Was he seriously suppose to take risk to play through any injury when he was going to be a free agent? How realistic of an expectation is that. But, I am playing along with what B.C wants.
It isn't about what Chris Bosh did or didn't do. It is about what this franchise does moving forward after he has left. The answer to that is not that much so far. Raptors have drafted two possible bigs in Davis and Alabi. They traded away Hedo Turkoglu, who was perhaps one of the worst signings since Yogi Stewart for the franchise. For what it is worth, I do like the addition of Leandro Barbosa. Hedo was terrible, B.C must have got an ill stomach from putting up the fake smoke screen about bringing him back.
Had he pulled off the 2 other deals that never happened, I would have liked one of those. Matt Barnes not signing with the Raptors was a blessing. Whatever you think of Matt Barnes he isn't worth 4.5 million dollars. You can make the same argument about the Amir Johnson contract. The differences are a few though. First, Amir was already here, and a fan favourite, despite his short time here. He has great chemistry with DeMar and Sonny in forming the Young Guns(Z). Also with losing Bosh, and having no interest in anyone else on their free agent list, that worked in Amir's favour. Still at end of the 5 years will people love this contract? For that to happen Amir needs to turn potential into production. The trade that Michael Jordan killed with the Bobcats was a major blow. Many liked it in terms of what it would do for the on the floor product for next season. Personally I didn't care about that. Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler were not making the Raptors contenders. What I liked was it got rid of Jose Calderon, who has been earning a full paycheck for playing on one end of the floor. That alone was reason for me to cheer. But the way it set up this franchise for the new CBA was exciting and it lead to optimistic thoughts for the future.
But it didn't happen. Just like a lot of things in the Bryan Colangelo era didn't happen. In that same interview he also took shots at how they tried many times to build around Bosh. The suggestion was that is was on Bosh for why it didn't work. Do we really want to break down the numbers of the guys this franchise brought in to "help" Bosh? Kapono, O'Neal, Hedo and even T.J did not set the world on fire. While Bosh was still going to All-Star Games. It is really easy to blame Chris Bosh now that he has clearly positioned himself to be the bad guy. However, if you are truly smart you will see this for what it is. A diversion from the fact Colangelo failed to build a team around this guy. Also how about we talk about the fact this team never went beyond the tax threshold once to build a team around him. Was that going all out to win? Chris sure didn't think so, like him now or not he was right. Just like Vince Carter was at least half right in thinking Rob Babcock was wrong choice for G.M. Clearly that was right. The reason Vince can only be half right is you can only speculate on what Dr. J would have done as G.M. The fact he has not got a job in almost 8 or 9 years since probably says a lot.
There was a blind faith in Bryan Colangelo when he first came here. He had instant success but since that time it has gone down hill fast. Perhaps Bryan Colangelo has just ran out of miracles. Maybe people are just coming to the realization that not even Bryan Colangelo can change the same old issues that have plagued the Raptors for 15 years. Is it our fault that our franchise is in another country? Is it our fault that people don't understand the Canadian Tax laws? Is it our fault that people south of a certain point in the U.S think we live in Igloos year round? Is it our fault Chris Bosh can't buy his Grandmother NBA League Pass?
The point is that Colangelo, has not made the issue that faces of the Raptors franchise keep disappearing. He thought he had a plan by going after European Players and building a international style team. That hasn't exactly worked out has it. You only need to look at Andrea Bargnani as the symbol of that. Fans have embraced the Young Guns to lead this team not Bargnani. That says something. People relate to the Young Guns and like the Young Guns. Bargnani has never really been able to connect with this whole fan base. He may be the most talented player on this roster. However people don't view him as the face of the franchise. Bryan Colangelo could have selected others with that number 1 pick. You wonder, if he didn't based on the fear that those players might just walk away, the same way Bosh has. While it is true both Bosh and Carter did re-sign once, it was that 2nd time that was the problem.
Some are saying this is going to be an exciting young team. They are going to play exciting basketball. Oh and they likely are going to lose 50 games. So if that is the case, how exciting is it going to be to watch this team when they are out of in in January or sooner? Have you looked down at the Rogers Centre (Sky Dome) lately? How is that Blue Jays attendance doing? Not so good right? As sexy and exciting as people try to make rebuilding, it just isn't. Oh and it is being done by the same people that failed to build a team around a 5 time All-Star. How confident are you they get it right? Till the Raptors find a way to address the core issues with this franchise really is it going to get anywhere?
Keep your eye on the ball and do not allow yourself to be distracted by slight of hand. People want you to blame Bosh because that means you are not blaming them. Chris has made it easy for them to do it. But the core of the problem was not all about Bosh. That is the simple answer but the wrong answer. There are deeper problems that plague this franchise that need to be addressed.