When the Bell and Rogers media conglomerates purchased majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment from the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, they made it plain and clear that anything would be done to get winning franchises back to Toronto. They began this season cleaning house in both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto FC’s management teams.
The single team they left alone was the Toronto Raptors. General manager Brian Colangelo and coach Dwane Casey were both given one more year to turn the ship around. The only move the new owners did was to jettison in Ed Stefanski as Colangelo’s number two man.
The season hasn’t unfolded as anyone wanted, and changes are on there way. Both the general manager and the coach will be looking for employment. The owners already have an able replacement for Colangelo in Stefanski who was given this year to evaluate the entire franchise.
Bell and Rogers are two of the largest businesses in North America, and their profits are made from making sound decisions. The decision to bring in Stefanski is about to pay off. During this entire horrible season, Stefanski was nowhere to be found. Only recently has he made small guest appearance on local radio shows. The owners don’t want him to be seen as a fresh face and are paving the way for his takeover.
Stefanski comes in with a very good track record of building franchises from the ground up into playoff teams. Both with the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers he used smart draft picks and even smarter acquisitions to build winners. It’s no coincidence that right after his departure both teams began to fade back into their losing ways.
Stefanski is well known to Raptor fans as he was the orchestrator of one of the biggest one way trades in NBA history. He traded basically a bag of basketballs for Vince Carter. The Nets went on to two NBA finals and the Raptors have not been a top level team since.
Throughout Colangelo’s career with the Raptors, he has always been seen with others in his management team such as Wayne Embry and Maurizio Gherardini. Doesn’t it seem odd he isn’t seen with Stefanski. Maybe the owners have done that on purpose and maybe Colangelo knows something we all hope happens: his firing.
Strefanski will be an upgrade compared to Colangelo. New blood is needed to right the ship. The only question will be when does he take over and who he brings in as his new coach?
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