Tired plot needs new twist

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

Denouement.

Noun. French origin.

Meaning: Final unravelling of a plot or complicated situation. Final scene in a play, novel, etc.

The denouement usually comes immediately after a story has reached its dramatic climax.

For the Raptors' 2004-05 season, the dramatic climax occurred on Friday against Vince Carter and the New Jersey Nets. And we all know how that turned out.

Last night as the Raptors lost 103-98 to the visiting Boston Celtics, the air still was heavy with the smoke of Carter's final words in the dying seconds of the Nets' victory two days previous.

As Carter dribbled the ball into the corner beside the Nets' bench, he looked up at his mother Michelle, who was seated courtside, and said, "This is still my house."

Was the ex-Raptor referring to the Air Canada Centre? Or could Vince have been talking about that condo in downtown Toronto that he can't seem to sell?

Anyway, as far as the Raptors' figurative house is concerned, some interior re-decorating will occur today.

As reported yesterday in The Sunday Sun, Wayne Embry is going to get a new title in the Raptors organization, and an announcement is expected today. Embry will become special adviser to the president, as opposed to his old role as special adviser to the general manager.

That means Embry will report directly to Richard Peddie, the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Ltd., rather than to Rob Babcock, the Raptors' general manager. Sources indicated Babcock will continue to report to Peddie, who also is a member of the MLSEL board of directors.

So why make the change at all?

Apparently it amounts to the creation of a shadow government, or at least an avenue for sober second-thought before major roster moves are made.

There have been reports that some of the board members at MLSEL have not been thrilled with the hoops decisions this season. Of course, the board members had to approve all those decisions, so their hands are not blood-free.

That said, the board members are not basketball people, and they know it. So the feeling is, when Babcock comes to the board members with an idea, they want to be able to turn to Peddie and say, "Well, what does Wayne Embry think?"

Now, there's still nothing stopping Embry from passing along his views directly to Babcock, and hopefully that has been occurring with great regularity already. But giving Embry a new title seems to be about making the board feel better, to make the board members feel less vulnerable and less blind when they are asked to approve franchise-altering moves.

HOUSECLEANING

This minor shuffling pales in comparison to the massive housecleaning that occurred in the Raptors' front office a year ago.

But honestly, after yet another crazy, tumultuous, explosive campaign, has there ever been a time in Raptors history that has been more grey? And by grey we don't necessarily mean uncertain, but rather, depressing, bland, stale, spent.

Obviously the fairly large crowd of 18,797 at the Air Canada Centre last night was a testament to the financial finality of advance ticket sales. But after only three post-season appearances in a decade, the Raptors organization really should get down on its hands and knees and thank this city for its overly generous support.

The Raptors might want to think about rewarding their fans one of these years.

After all, in a better world the denouement would follow some memorable playoff dramatics, rather than a painful but ultimately irrelevant regular-season loss to an achingly familiar face.


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