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  Thu, November 20, 2003


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The Last Word
By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun


It's a question Glen Grunwald probably never has been asked. Does Grunwald, who today is celebrating his sixth anniversary as general manager of the Raptors, even want a new contract?

There are reasons to say no. Few of us have jobs where all our decisions are dissected publicly. It can wear on you.

Grunwald is in the final year of his deal. He has a wife and a baby and a law degree that would make it easy for him to find employment. The cash might not be as good as in the NBA, but Grunwald would not be in line at a soup kitchen.

However, for the record, Grunwald wants to stay.

"Who knows what I'll be doing in 10 years?" said Grunwald, 45. "But yes, I like this job and I want to keep doing it."

Richard Peddie, the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Ltd., said he had a verbal performance review with Grunwald last week.

"We have verbal reviews with all our staff in November and I did Glen's last week," Peddie said. "I brought it up.

"I know he wants to stay. He told me that. I told him things seemed to be going well, and (the possibility of a new deal) is something we'll talk about early in the new year.

"I don't want to speculate on anything. I don't want to play it up or downplay it. The attitude right now is, let's get the team rolling and we'll talk about it in the new year."

The majority shareholder at MLSEL is the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund, and given that organization's eye for a dollar, the board of directors as a whole may wait until the spring to seriously consider a new deal for Grunwald. Obviously, Grunwald has a better chance of sticking around if the team makes the playoffs than if it doesn't. But he said he isn't sweating the individual losses any more than he normally does, because that would be impossible.

"I've always hated losing," Grunwald said. "So hopefully we'll be doing less of that and more of the alternative, since there are no ties in the NBA."

Peddie pointed out that Grunwald rarely stays in the stands when a game is close down the stretch, choosing instead to disappear into the Raptors locker room and pace alone as he glares at the TV.

"Glen is like a duck who looks all serene on the water and underneath the surface the heart is pounding and the feet are pumping like crazy," Peddie said. "But he's smart, he's hard-working, he does his homework and he's honest, which is something for which he has a league-wide reputation."

A reputation for honesty is wonderful, but a reputation for success is more important. Like any GM, Grunwald's career has had its ups and downs.

The franchise is in better shape than it was when he took over, on the heels of the divisive Isiah Thomas-John Bitove era.

But after two subpar seasons, ticket sales are down.

Grunwald's draft success is mixed. While many of his trades arguably have worked out, many of his signings arguably have not.

He did not make those financial decisions alone, but if anyone takes the fall for inking Antonio Davis, Alvin Williams, Jerome Williams and Hakeem Olajuwon to lucrative, multi-year contracts that have handcuffed the club (not to mention the Nate Huffman fiasco), it'll be the GM.

What will work in Grunwald's favour is he is liked by most of the people who know him professionally, meaning that if it ever came down to a close call to keep him or dump him, he would get the benefit of the doubt.

Plus, if Grunwald were fired, the organization would need to have a clear idea of what new direction it wanted to go. Would MLSEL pay for a qualified replacement, or would it do things on the cheap?

But that's not an issue, yet. Right now, every Raptors win tips the scales a little in Grunwald's favour and every defeat has the opposite effect.

"The job is enjoyable," Grunwald said, "but losing is not." 









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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