Bryan Colangelo Waltzes Into Toronto
Mr. Colangelo, welcome!
Before we examine the relative value of adding the reigning executive of the year in the NBA to a franchise that has employed - arguably - the worst trio of GM's in the history of sport; let us examine two fundamental truths.
1. After today's introduction three of the four most visible executives at MLSE are visibly metro-sexual. Richard Peddie, Larry Tannenbaum and the newly minted Colangelo. This begs the question: do the three of them ever get together and go out for a drink with John Ferguson Jr.? Right now I'm picturing the three of them ordering dirty martini's at the Windsor Arms while Ferguson Jr. looks around with a frown on his face and finally says to the waiter: "do you have any Labatt 50?" What about if Ferguson showed up at the Air Canada Centre on Monday morning and brought everybody double double's from Tim Horton's? Would the other three start sending BlackBerry pins around the office lamenting the fact they weren't drinking Starbucks? This needs to be a reality show.
2. Bryan Colangelo LOOKS like an executive. Sounds superficial doesn't it? Frankly, I don't care. John Ferguson Jr. looks tough and thorough; J.P. Ricciardi looks like he could rattle off a 2:40 marathon at will; Rob Babcock... Rob Babcock looked like a guy in an elevator who ripped one two seconds before the door opened and a pack of people walked in. One of these general managers is not currently employed. If Ferguson or Riccciardi was the GM when Vince Carter was playing like a poor man's version of Doug Christie, I'd like to think they would have done the honorable thing. Namely, make Vince part of the Raptors Dance Pack and force him to sit for the duration of his maximum contract.
Now - Why is this a terrific move? If you were a GM you could not possibly ask for a better situation. This is the business equivalent of Barry Bonds taking batting practice after Eric Hinske.
Cap space? Check. Budding Superstar? Check. (We'll debate whether that's Charlie Villanueva or Chris Bosh at another time.) Complete autonomy over basketball decisions. Check. (Though, it is entertaining to read columnists effectively compare Richard Peddie to Ricky Gervais' character in "The Office".) Good young coach? Check. Special advisor who's a pal of your Dad and looks a little bit like James Earl Jones? Check. (Thank you, Wayne Embry.)
Of course, there are landmines:
Everybody and their brother thinks it is imperative that we overpay for Mike James this off-season. First of all, you should never overpay for anybody in a sport with a salary cap. It will always end badly; this is a mathematical and primary certainty. As of right now, the only difference between Mike James, Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis and Baron Davis is that Mike James isn't grossly overpaid. James is a shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body. He wouldn't pull down more than 20 minutes for Detroit, San Antonio or Dallas, and he should never be paid more than 5 million dollars a year under any circumstances whatsoever.
Hopefully, part of the advantage that is born from Bryan Colangelo being given unprecedented power within the MLSE hierarchy is that he wont feel the pressure to save face. If Mike James wants to make 8 million jacking 23 shots a night for the Atlanta Hawks, god bless him. Let's hope it doesn't happen in T.O.
Most importantly, the financial landscape of the NBA isn't overly complicated. With the salary cap, there is a limited amount of financial maneuverability available to each and every team. If this were an economics chart the demand for cash from the players would far outweigh the supply of cash from the owners. So the onus falls on the general manager to be fiscally responsible. If you are patient, prudent and resourceful you can assemble a competitive basketball team. These are the only factors.
Geography is not a factor. Luck is not a factor.
Cash is a factor.
Which is why anybody who thinks that Chris Bosh will leave 16 million dollars on the table and gamble on whatever team happens to have salary cap space is certifiably insane. Bosh is here to stay. So is Charlie Villanueva.
Now go ahead Mr. Colangelo; assemble your team.
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