Raptors in Wayne's world

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

Wayne Embry, who has moved from senior adviser to the president to interim general manager of the Raptors, had vowed not to twiddle his thumbs while the team continues to fall out of the playoff picture.

"I'm going to hit the ground running and try to make things happen that will be in the best interest of this franchise, and try to make some positive moves," the highly respected Embry said yesterday, after it was announced that GM Rob Babcock was fired. "I think we have a good, solid foundation and, yes, there are some moves that I would like to see (happen) this season. But we'll go through the process."

Two possible moves with major consequences that have been kicking around these days are the trading of veteran forward Jalen Rose and the decision whether to keep veteran guard Mike James, who is in the final year of his contract and can sign as a free agent in the summer, or trade him. The Raptors allowed Donyell Marshall to walk last season and ended getting nothing in return, although his departure did clear up salary cap room, which resulted in Babcock having the cap room to sign Matt Bonner and Jose Calderon.

There have been increasing rumours that Babcock was ready to pull the trigger on a deal that would send Rose to the New York Knicks for Penny Hardaway.

Babcock, who never discussed unconfirmed trades, said yesterday that there was a 50-50 chance that he was going to make a major move this season. Any move is now up to Embry.

Embry left Toronto yesterday for Milwaukee, where he was going to address the coaching staff and players last night about Babcock's firing. The Raps play the Bucks tonight.

Embry, who turns 69 in March, has been a GM in the NBA, but does not want the headaches of the job any longer.

PUSHING THE ROOKIES

The Raptors rookie corps, Charlie Villanueva, Joey Graham and Jose Calderon, have hit the wall during the past few weeks, so head coach Sam Mitchell had them come to practice early yesterday and work on defensive drills.


Videos

Photos