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  Tue, May 18, 2004


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Raps GM search is no debacle: Peddie
By STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

Richard Peddie is talking fast and trying hard to explain.

He does that when he is feeding you a line with the real hope you're buying what he is selling.

These are not comfortable times for the CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. He has absorbed more shots lately than Wladimir Klitschko and has been just as defenceless.

There is a website out there trying to raise enough cash to fly an airplane over the city with the banner: Fire Peddie.

And his attempts to hire a general manager for the Raptors have all the makings of failure long before any announcement is made.

"It's not a debacle," Peddie said, forever reassuring that all is well.

It only seems like one.

Right now, his reputation and the reputation of his basketball franchise is taking a horrible beating. From the outside, the Raptors' search for a GM borders on the comical.

It takes on even sillier proportions when word leaks out of varying cities that the Raptors, without a GM, already are talking to prospective coaches.

Peddie, for one, denies he has spoken to any potential coaches. He doesn't deny that Jack McCloskey, the senior citizen who said he could rap up this puzzle in a matter of hours, has talked to those on a prospective list.

That, by itself, is troubling. There is a standard way of operating in sport that the Raptors and Peddie seem confused by. You hire a GM to run your sporting operation. He then hires the coach. It's basic, simple logic really.

Only it seems to escape MLSEL over and over again.

Peddie likes to throw around words like corporate governance and due diligence and process and yet the way most hirings are handled around MLSEL there is almost a Keystone Kops element to everything attempted at the corporate level. Except it isn't funny.

Peddie does not share the growing view that he is not qualified to be selecting the next GM or that the process is doomed for disaster. When asked why anyone associated with the Raptors is talking to coaches before a GM is hired, his answer is curious.

"So the GM can hit the ground running when he's hired," Peddie said. 'We've identified a number of coaches ... We have talked to a lot of people and identified people."

Just one question: Why are they identifying coaches? That's not their job. That's the sole discretion of the incoming GM. And that's what Peddie doesn't seem to comprehend on any scale.

The minute someone talks to a coach before hiring a GM is the minute the organization is deemed unworkable. There is too much double talk here. They say one thing and do the opposite. They have taken a relatively simple process and rendered it and themselves ludicrous.

"I hear about the meddling and Richard Peddie and all that, but it's not the case," Peddie said. "Do I like (the criticism)? Absolutely not ... I'm not happy with the press we're getting right now ...

"It's a complicated process. The last franchise sold for $401 million. You need to be a lawyer to understand the CBA. You need to be a CA to understand the salary cap. It's not just a basketball job anymore. Gone are the days where you're skating one day and running a franchise the next."

Just ask Joe Dumars, who went from player to front office in Detroit. Or Larry Bird in Indiana. Or Danny Ainge in Boston. Yep, those days are certainly gone.

And the Raptors are stuck in the buffet line, looking for a GM, picking at the leftovers. Appearing to be barely competent.

"It's a much bigger issue here than it is around the league," Peddie said of the growing criticism. "And I'm not (playing it down). This is our city, these are our fans. I don't like those negatives."

And on the day Ken Dryden officially left the company, saying it was time, Richard Peddie was asked the very same question.

"It's not time for me to leave," he said. "We've done some wonderful things here in seven years. There's some unfinished business left."

And one reputation to salvage.









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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