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  Fri, April 16, 2004


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Mixed messages cloud GM picture

By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

The Raptors have narrowed their general manager search to a crazy eight.

But the real craziness began yesterday when interim GM Jack McCloskey tried to explain who was going to make the final call on the club's new GM.

McCloskey did not create this mess, so it was easy to feel sorry for him. He was asked to explain the unexplainable.

And even though the 78-year-old McCloskey was wily enough to lead the Detroit Pistons to two NBA titles as GM, he was not up to clarifying the cloudy chain of command at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.

As for the basic news, McCloskey said during a season-ending news conference that the Raptors have "eight people we are widely interested in," and he hopes to start the process of interviewing potential GMs the week of April 26. Pistons vice-president John Hammond, Sacramento Kings VP Wayne Cooper, Seattle SuperSonics GM Rick Sund, New York Knicks scout Jim Stack and Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Del Harris are rumoured to be among those on the list.

McCloskey confirmed at least one team told him he couldn't talk to one of his targeted candidates till after the June draft. "If we wait that long, he'll be in second place," McCloskey said.

According to sources, McCloskey likely was referring to the Kings' stance on Cooper, whom many observers perceive to be the best candidate. If Cooper were eliminated on that basis alone, it would not be good news for the Raptors. But McCloskey later seemed to contradict that hardline stance.

When asked what the Raptors would do if one of their preferred candidates is associated with a team that advances to the NBA final in June, McCloskey said, "If it takes that long, and the presidents and owners of other teams want to hold them till that time, and that's our guy, I think it would be imperative that we wait for that guy."

So, the Raptors won't wait, but they will wait.

McCloskey was asked if he, chairman of the board Larry Tanenbaum and president/CEO Richard Peddie have to come to a consensus on a new GM.

"I'd like to think I'll make the final call," McCloskey said. "Obviously I'm going to have to listen to (Tanenbaum and Peddie's) arguments. But I think it's understood that I will have great input there."

When ex-GM Glen Grunwald was fired, Peddie implied he would be making the final call on the new guy.

"Well, I have to talk to (Peddie) about that," the McCloskey said, prompting laughter.

But seriously, Jack, this is a corporate structure, so won't Peddie have to make a recommendation to the board of directors, which either can approve it or turn it down?

"Oh, sure," McCloskey said. "(Peddie) can tell them the guy I think it should be and it goes to the board. If they don't like it, that's it. Then we go back to the drawing board."

In other words, you actually don't have the final call.

"I should be the guy who makes the decision on this," McCloskey said. "I'll have Larry's input and Richard's input, but I should be the guy who makes the decision. If they present it to the board and the board isn't satisfied with that, then we go back and get somebody else."

Hmmm. You keep saying you "should" be the guy. But have you been given any indication you are the guy?

"Well, we'll just have to wait and see," McCloskey said.

Indeed, we will.

CONVOLUTED STRUCTURE

Again, we must stress that McCloskey did not personally design the convoluted corporate structure at MLSEL, so he can't be expected to find logic where none exists.

But the mixed messages he sent yesterday revealed that if there is a crystal-clear plan, it has not been made crystal-clear to McCloskey.

The wheels of the bus go round and round.









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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