Thursday, January 26, 2006

Raptors fire Rob Babcock

The mismanagement of the NBA franchise continues here in Toronto.

As first reported by The Globe and Mail, the Raptors have fired general manager Rob Babcock this afternoon. In only the second year of his contract, Babcock had no experience when he was hired and has seemingly been on the hot seat since Day 1.

Toronto might not be known as a 'basketball town,' but it certainly is a huge media centre where every sickly pulse from the city's professional teams is documented ad nauseam. (That's a belaboured way of saying: 'It's not easy to suck here.')

This season, however, Babcock has made a number of admirable personnel decisions, including picking up guard Mike James in an early season trade for Rafer Alston. Babcock also did well at the draft table in his second go around — although it was hardly possible to do worse than selecting Brazilian oaf Rafael Araujo with the No. 8 pick in the 2004 draft.

The timing of this move is abysmal. There's one month to go until the trade deadline, not nearly enough time for owner MLSE to appoint their candidate and allow that person the time to properly retool the team. With only an interim GM, presumably for the rest of the season, the Raptors are also stuck with hapless head coach Sam Mitchell until the manager's seat is refilled.

Living in B.C. at the time, I had a bird's eye view of the only NBA franchise in recent memory managed as poorly as the Raptors have been the last two years: the Vancouver Grizzlies. And we all know how that ended.


At 6:19 a.m., January 27, 2006, Anonymous cy said...

I really don't see how the MLSE board can do anything on Friday but demand Peddie's resignation. Up until now he has always rubbed his fingerprints off the evidence. Yesterday he had nowhere to hide, and admitted as much -- that he cost them millions, left them with yet another unfinished contract, and set them back two years.

At 10:52 a.m., January 27, 2006, Anonymous Another Chris said...

This had Sam Mitchell's fingerprints all over it. The guy has shown out and out contempt for Babcock and his authority. Consider the following:

1) Mitchell had a physical confrontation with the franchise player (he who cannot be named) which I'm sure didn't help with the motivation/dedication of said athlete. Ultimately, the GM was under the gun to trade the star player and in return picked up three pieces of used Hubba Bubba.

2) Mitchell had multiple confrontations with last year's starting point guard, ultimately causing the point guard to contemplate retiring. In the off season, the GM made an unbelievable deal to unload the PG for an undervalued rising star that also happens to have the bonus of an expiring contract.

3) The coach has shown utter contempt for the decisions the GM has made with draft picks and roster moves. Do you really think that Araujo deserves to be starting in the NBA? Or is this just Sam Mitchell rubbing it in the face of Babcock? What other starter in the league plays the first 5 minutes and then sits on the bench for the rest of the game?

4) In additional to his handling of Araujo, think about how he responded to the Pap Sow situation. One minute he says that there's simply not enough minutes for him and the next game he's starting. Again, it was a completely arrogant, disdainful move on behalf of the coach that was strictly intended to show up the GM.

From my perspective, it was a power struggle between Mitchell and Babcock and ultimately Mitchell won. Based on the points listed above, I think they kept the wrong guy.


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