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  Fri, February 20, 2004


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The Last Word
Glen Grunwald has been a pretty good judge of talent during his tenure as Raptors general manager. It's character he can't seem to judge.

By MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun

The NBA trade deadline came and went yesterday and Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald couldn't have shot himself in the foot, even if he had wanted to.

No bullets in the chamber.

Grunwald has been saddled with injured starters Vince Carter, Chris Bosh and Jalen Rose. He had no depth to move, no overachieving veteran to turn over for a prospect.

Circumstance, much of it of his own doing, has reduced Grunwald to Richard Burton's view of the theatre critic: A eunuch at an orgy.

Once Grunwald recast his team on trade day landing Jerome Williams and Chris Childs and it is tempting to say he should have conjured some magic yesterday -- until you wonder out loud what he could barter. Jerome Moiso, anyone?

Grunwald has already launched a major overhaul this year by landing Rose, Lonny Baxter and the delightful surprise that has been Donyell Marshall for the perennially disaffected Antonio Davis and Williams.

That Grunwald has dramatically less material with which to work as he did a few years ago speaks to the betrayal of a good man, a guy who took a 16-win laughing stock and, for a time, made it competitive.

Glen Grunwald is a pretty fair judge of talent. He snared Vince Carter for Antawn Jamison, saw value in Davis, then a reserve with the Indiana Pacers and recognized the gem that was Bosh at the four hole in last year's draft.

It's character he can't seem to judge.

Grunwald did not see Hakeem Olajuwon's gambit with the Raptors as the desperate contract grab it was. That cost him his first- and second-round pick in the 2002 draft.

He extended Butch Carter's contract, thus setting in motion the spectacular freefall and credibility gap that necessitated the hiring of Lenny Wilkens.

Wilkens had the resume but what Grunwald could or did not see was a lack of drive. The club's best asset, Carter, withered in his stay here but there was no way to fire Wilkens until Butch Carter's deal was off the books.

Grunwald was the only person in town to believe Tracy McGrady when he said he would consider offers to stay with the Raptors. Plenty of teams would have been willing to trade for a chance to inculcate McGrady and maybe land a potential franchise talent. Instead, Grunwald was manoeuvred into a sign-and-trade.

Grunwald believed he saw in Nate Huffman the drive to be an NBA player. Huffman's vanity exacerbated a risky decision. The player who boldly predicted a long NBA career for himself lasted seven games and then, for good measure, won an arbitration case against the club when the Raps tried to terminate Huffman's contract for medical reasons.

Grunwald had to move 6-foot-10 suck Antonio Davis in a trade that cost the Raptors the popular and serviceable Williams.

TROUBLE MAKER

There was Charles Oakley, the double-talking trouble maker. Remember Mark Jackson who slowed down the offence to a crawl? How about Childs, who blew a playoff game against Detroit in the last game he played for Toronto because he didn't bother to check the score?

This is the final year of Glen Grunwald's contract. Yesterday, he spent what should have been the most important day of the year with his hands tied. Grunwald supplied the rope. The knots were applied by far lesser men.









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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