O'Neill points finger at media

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

Raptors coach Kevin O'Neill refused to dance on Glen Grunwald's grave yesterday, but he did want to bury the media. Preferably alive.

O'Neill acknowledged that he and Grunwald had not been getting along for much of this season, although he did wish Grunwald well after the general manager was let go yesterday.

However, O'Neill did launch into a minor tirade against those now infamous published reports last week that targeted the coach as a major factor in the team's poor play this season. Unnamed sources suggested that O'Neill's on- and off-court behavior undermined the team's success.

"I think whoever leaked those things last week did a lot to submarine this team and submarine the players on this team," O'Neill said. "That made a difference with the performance of our players in the last 12 to 14 games. And that's what I think is unfortunate in all of this.

"As coaches, we're professionals and we can deal with these things. Unfortunately, those people chose to involve our players. Any NBA season is tough enough without those kinds of things happening."

It is widely speculated that O'Neill, who has one year left on his contract, will get the axe next.

The first-year head coach said all he can do at this point is keep doing his best to coach the Raptors as the team fights for a playoff spot. O'Neill refused to speculate on his future with the team.

"I think anytime going into a lame-duck year you want to know sooner rather than later," he said. "But I'm just going to wait until the end of the year and coach the team's final eight games."

Grunwald played down the rift with O'Neill.

"We had a difficult situation, there's no point in denying that," Grunwald said. "But at the same time it's not terribly unusual either. We had our disagreements and those things will happen."

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. president Richard Peddie said that the new GM, when he's hired, will have the final say on whether O'Neill remains with the team.

The betting is that he will not be back next season.

"I think Kevin in many ways has been a good choice and he's still a first-year coach who I think can get better," Peddie said.


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