A move Rob Babcock made more than a year ago likely began his slide to the ranks of the unemployed.
Although he has orchestrated some good moves this season -- he was even named executive of the year by one prominent NBA writer -- the trade Babcock made involving former Raptors superstar Vince Carter on Dec. 17, 2004 was the beginning of the end.
Babcock traded the disgruntled, pouting, non-productive Carter to the New Jersey Nets for Eric Williams and Aaron Williams -- both of whom play little for the Raptors -- Alonzo Mourning, who refused to report to the Raptors, and two first-round draft picks. Carter is having one of the best seasons of his career.
Babcock, however, insisted that if he had to do it all over again, he would.
"I would not change one thing," Babcock said, a hint of defiance in his voice. "It was something that had to be made for this franchise. The player did not want to be here and he made that clear.
"We had to move him," Babcock said. "It was a matter of finding the best trade out there and I know for a fact ... that was the best trade. There was no better trade, not even close. We felt if we waited any longer, the opportunities were only going to get worse."
Babcock believes that the deal was better for the Raptors than most people acknowledge because by moving Carter, he also cleared up plenty of salary cap money for this season and next. Babcock acknowledged that Carter's refusal to play hard for the Raptors at the time made it much more difficult to swing a good deal.
The other move that has continually haunted the good-natured GM, who took a beating from the media in this town, was the drafting of Rafael Araujo with the No. 8 overall selection in 2004. While Araujo has struggled for two years, the man the Raptors passed over, Andre Iguodala, is developing into an all-star for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Babcock hinted that he has had second thoughts about that decision.
"I know Hof has not developed to anywhere close to where we thought he could be. But I still think the jury's out," Babcock said. "Whether he is going to be as good as Iguodala, probably not, (Iguodala) is a terrific player and he's somebody that we considered very strongly at that position.
"But Hoffa fit the need of what this team needed at that time and based on the information we had and the climate there, we felt it was the best decision at that time.
"I still think Hof has a chance to be a solid NBA player, because he has the character, the desire and the skills to be a definite player in this league."