The second-guessing has begun in earnest, the blame game in progress with no end in sight.
The Raptors made a calculated gamble last off-season when they elected not to trade Chris Bosh, a move that would have signalled a clear choice to clean house and rebuild.
They didn’t, knowing full well the consequences that would arrive if Bosh were to walk away for nothing or bolt for free agency for pieces that basically amounted to nothing.
What would have happened had Hedo Turkoglu not reneged on a deal he had in place with Portland?
Would the Raptors been more amenable to dealing Bosh?
The answers aren’t known and even if GM Bryan Colangelo were asked to revisit history and be brutally honest in his selection of words, he can’t undo what’s been done.
In retrospect, what should have been done was a complete remake of the organization, a move to get rid of players and contracts, basically looking at some short-term pain to acquire high first-round picks and build with youth.
As currently constructed, the Raptors are not very good and they threaten to be bad.
It’s unfortunate the bar was raised so high when Colangelo arrived amid so much fanfare, quickly moving forward from the ill-fated Rob Babcock era and earning the franchise’s first division title.
It was all good and it promised to get even better, but the franchise has regressed and Colangelo is staring at an off-season only Houdini could possible manoeuvre around.
All of a sudden, that extension Colangelo gave Andrea Bargnani last off-season doesn’t look so bad.
By not working with the Raptors, Bosh gave the franchise a slap in the face.
Nothing is official and cannot be made official until Thursday, but you know Colangelo was working the phones and exploring every possible angle to try to pry something for Bosh.
“I’ve said this before: We remain Chris Bosh’s best option to maximize his contract potential, whether that’s re-signing here or going out in the market and we work out a sign and trade,” Colangelo said at his year-end media gathering, when the team’s future didn’t look as bleak as it does today.
“Chris said it best: Whether or not he stays, we’ll be working together, discussing what options we have.
“But it’s not often an athlete walks away from a significant amount of money. That’s an advantage we have with him.”
But something happened on Bosh’s road to Miami, a strain that put the Raptors right up against the wall.
As many as seven sign-and-trade scenarios were believed to have been mapped out and yet Bosh finds himself heading to Miami for nothing.
A lot could change from Wednesday, when Bosh went on ESPN to announce his decision to join the Heat.
“No matter what happens, me and Bryan agreed to work together,” Bosh said when he met with the media at season’s end.
“I think that’s important. I respect him as a GM and he respects me as a player. I think that’s important, no matter what you do, you always want to do good business in this league. We’re always going to talk.”
But the lines of communication ended for reasons unknown.
As of Wednesday, the Raptors had no Bosh and a Turkoglu who is either committed to Toronto or determined to want out.
There’s no inside presence to speak of, no player to consistently lean on and potential in rookies Ed Davis, whose body isn’t NBA ready, and Solomon Alabi.
If Bosh does indeed leave for nothing, there’s a real possibility the team may not be in position to use its mid-level exception.
There are so many moving parts and so much reason for skepticism that it’s hard to envision any kind of marketing strategy to get the public to buy into the system.
It would have been easier had the Raptors not taken on Turkoglu and had they traded Bosh last off-season.