There is not an awful lot in the Raptors immediate future that provides much intrigue. It looks like they are locked in as the 5th worst team in the league, barring some kind of run by the Timberwolves. So it’ll be all up to the lucky bounce of a fair number of ping pong balls before we can get worked up in any way about possibilities next season. The only thing that draws my attention on a day-to-day basis is Jose Calderon’s thinning hair. Can he make it through the season without a bald spot becoming harder to miss than one of his free throws from a couple season’s back? I have a whole host of locker room scenarios playing out in my mind, including Jose scrounging up shavings from Reggie’s beard, trying to get Andrea to wear a sleeve on his calf again so that he can shave off and donate his leg hair, asking Leandro if he’s done any waxing and whether he might have saved any furry remnants – and then mixing his collection of discarded follicles with the gel Jorge had handed to him before the 2006 World Championships, while whispering in his ear, “we need to look like world champions if we want to be world champions”. Jose would be a true basketball king shortly thereafter, and look the part, but now he may need this concoction to hide the slowly growing circle of light that crowns his head. As that circle widens, there will be only one solution – clipping his entire mane down to a fine stubble. No more with “a little off the top”. He’s going to need counseling from Bruce Willis.
The question will be when not if. And that seems to correlate with the fate of the team’s ownership. We first heard that Peddie was retiring. When? Sometime soon. There would be a slow process in looking for a replacement, and it wouldn’t represent much more than a “little off the top”. Then we heard a leak concerning Roger’s interest in purchasing all the holding interests of MLSE. That was quickly covered up with the usual media concoctions that might equate to Jose’s mixture. And now we hear that the teacher’s pension fund is indeed looking to sell it’s shares. The question, like with Jose’s impending baldness, is how long before everything at the top gets lopped off? And of course this question is much more important than impending changes to Jose’s grooming habits. It impacts on the whole future of this franchise. I’ve made the point in the past how new ownership would likely be a very positive step, but in the meantime, the waiting could prove to be quite negative. How far can this team move forward until they have moved forward with the handover of all the accounts? What happens to Colangelo and Triano in the meantime? How will possible trades, or even the draft be effected? Unlike with Jose, a holding pattern is not something to hope for.
When Bryan Colangelo arrived he decided on something of a makeover for the team. And not just with his overhauling of the roster. We would no longer bleed purple. The change to red meant a transformed court and locker room. And the claw became the dominant logo over the old dribbling dinosaur. That was nice. It had some effect. But any textbook on management principles will point out how such superficial changes in appearance do not resolve any underlying issues necessary to achieving a fundamental difference. Even if the ghost of Marlon Brando whispers into Andrea’s ear that he looks like a champion, we’re not likely to see him holding the big ball of gold that makes it so. This team needs a legitimate makeover, starting at the top, in order for results on the court to hold as much of a claim as monetary gains through the usual conservative approach of too many cooks perusing the books. I’m anxious for this all to happen quickly as a fan, and yet I sense that fans are not going to be given any consideration in any of it, and that it will drag on while various sides look for an advantage that might allow them to rub a few extra nickels together. In the end, I just hope that this team can end up with the sort of solid footing at the the very top that it has never quite managed to achieve, and without which it is left needing more luck than anything else. The fans have been there all along. We’ve served the pensioners well. Now it’s time for the money to deliver more than cosmetic changes and a little hope here and there for us. It’s time for ownership to look for the same sort of results on the court that we’re all looking for. Now let’s see that ownership finally emerge, and soon – before we see Jose resort to a drastic haircut.