Toronto Raptors 2008-'09: The Long Goodbyes

Stephen Brotherston@@ProBballNBAAnalyst ISeptember 2, 2009

ORLANDO - APRIL 28: Head Coach Sam Mitchell of the Toronto Raptors directs his team against the Orlando Magic in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2008 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on April 28, 2008 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors have been through more personnel changes than a fast food joint since the start of last season.  So much so that most of us won’t be able to go to a game this season without a program.  At $5 a copy, the Raptors' owners, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment will be very happy to hear that one!

But we shouldn’t forget those who contributed and in many ways made this year’s roster possible.  Some of these former Raptors may not have made a lasting impression, but all of them contributed something to the team or at least to our entertainment.

Sixteen faces have moved on since last season started—not counting assistant coaches and other team personnel. So saying good-bye to those 2008-09 Raptor alumni will take some time!


Sam Mitchell

The coach who stood up to a bunch of whiny unresponsive veterans and gave fans hope that change was possible.  We will miss your fire.  You didn’t deserve the chants of “Fire Mitchell” last season but why couldn’t you learn the Xs and Os and that when your boss tells you to play the rookies, you play the rookies!  We know you’ll find another NBA coaching job.


Joey Graham

You were a favourite!  For all you did wrong and for all you never learned in four seasons, the fans still loved to watch you play and chanted: Joey, Joey!


Roko Ukic

We thought you were the second coming of Jose Calderon.  And who knows, that could still be true.  It wasn’t your fault that the Raps threw you into the fire before you were ready.  Here’s wishing you the best of luck in Milwaukee.


Will Solomon

Raptor fans shouldn’t forget that 15 point, 11 assist game you gave vs. Miami on Nov. 16.  It looked like the Raptors had hit the jackpot.  That wasn’t your only good game, but it just wasn’t enough.  Thanks anyway.


Hassan Adams

A game log full of zeros wasn’t your fault.  We never really got to see you play.


Jorge Garbajosa

A good-bye that’s more than a day late and a dollar short.  But your contract with the Raptors has finally concluded (for salary cap purposes), insurance claims have been settled and you’ve been resigned in Europe for a while.  The team couldn’t replace your basketball IQ and toughness at small forward and it cost us a playoff series and two sliding seasons.  Man, did the Raps ever miss you!


Carlos Delfino

The Raptors couldn’t get your name on a contract last season but held onto your rights.  You helped the Raps win some games in '07-08 and lots of us wanted you back. Thanks for helping the Raptors get Amir Johnson.  Welcome back to the NBA!


Nathan Jawai

Having a serious health issue is a scary thing.  Sorry it cost you your chance with the Raps.  We wish you the best of luck catching on in Dallas.


Jake Voskul

The Raptors wanted a no problem veteran center to come in last season and you did your job.  Never played big minutes, always did what was asked.  Thanks for your contribution.


Kris Humphries

Injuries made you the forgotten man last season but Raptor fans haven’t forgotten how well you played at the end of '06-07 and your progress the next year.  It’s fun watching a high energy player develop.  Dallas has picked themselves up a nice player. Good Luck.


Jermaine O’Neal

You were sold as the player who would make the Raptors contenders in the East.  It never happened, but it wasn’t your fault.  Thanks for always giving everything you had to give, even if sometimes you couldn’t give us what you would have liked.


Shawn Marion

Your time in Toronto was far too short.  Just when it seemed you were developing some chemistry with your new mates you’re off to Dallas.  Thanks for a brief period of excitement at the end of an otherwise disappointing season.


Pops Mensa-Bonsu

We enjoyed watching you fly around the court at break neck speed and fly through the air for a board or a block or a dunk.  Getting the crowd involved is a good thing.  Good Luck.


Jason Kapono

A big thank you for all the excitement at the 3-point shootouts during all-star festivities.  It gave us something to cheer for when there wasn’t much else worth cheering.


Jamario Moon

We thought you were the answer to the loss of Jorge Garbajosa but that was not your game.  You had amazing stats for a rookie with 8.5 points, 6.2 boards, 1.4 blocks, and one steal per contest.  Please tell us where that went?  We wish you good fortune in Cleveland, just not when you’re playing the Raps!


Anthony Parker

Why couldn’t you have been a Raptor four seasons earlier.  You won enough championships in Europe to last a lifetime!  AP was easily the favourite Raptor to have moved on this offseason.  The Raptors will miss his steady veteran presence.  Good luck AP in Cleveland, just try to have your off nights against the Raptors!

A reminder that playing pro sports offers a ridiculously short career that is often fraught with risks and numerous changes of employer and location.  Thank you to all those we enjoyed watching last season and for being part of the team that made the 2009-10 roster possible.

Can the new season just get started already!


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