Tracy McGrady. Gone.
Vince Carter. Out.
Chris Bosh. Hasta la vista.
Toronto Raptors fans have had a terrible time when it comes to keeping their superstars. Last year Brian Colangelo stood there like the awkward, ugly girlfriend of Chris Bosh, who it was clear he never had a chance to keep. No matter how much Colangelo sucked up to Bosh, catered to him, and tried to build around him, Bosh always knew he was going to be leaving Toronto, which is exactly what he did.
So now Colangelo is left with the challenge of rebuilding the Raptors from the ground up, which is no easy task...especially when you consider some of the crap he started off with at the beginning of the year. And right from the beginning of the year, Toronto's sports media and the fans have thoroughly bitched about how Colangelo should be fired and the team is terrible, and that they should have made a bigger free-agent splash.
Colangelo though, waited patiently and took his time, rather than having some sort of knee-jerk reaction to what people were saying. And somehow, Colangelo was able to rid himself of his past mistakes and get this rebuilding process going. How the hell he convinced someone to take Turkoglu off his hands I have no idea, but he did, and in return we got back Barbosa, who actually looks like he enjoys playing and is happy to be here. He drafted Ed Davis (give him a couple of years and he'll be a 10 and 10 player every night), signed Johnson, a good young player who isn't afraid of getting his hands dirty, and Kleiza (hmmmm...questionable signing, but we all can make mistakes), and then cut his losses on Jarret Jack, and brought in Jarryd Bayless and Peja Stojakovic (who ultimately became Alexis Ajinca). Couple these guys with DeMar DeRozan (who is looking pretty amazing lately), and Andrea Bargnani (who is having a career year), and the team is at its core a solid group of young players who have an opportunity to grow together, and gives Colangelo an entire TEAM to build around...rather than just one player who would rather play third fiddle in Miami.
Still though...Raptors fans can't take the losing. They boo the team at home, they call into the sports shows and yap more about how Colangelo "needs to do something".
I think what people fail to realize is that in order to make this team good, in order to make this team competitive, there are going to be some growing pains. Yeah, it sucks for us Raptor fans right now, but what's the alternative? Sign or trade for other teams' cast-offs?
Take the Maple Leafs for example...
All you hear from "Leafs Nation" is that Brian Burke shouldn't have traded away draft picks in order to land Phil Kessel. They rant and rave about how THIS is the decision that has put the Leafs in such a terrible position, and that if Burke would rebuild through the draft and create a young nucleus that can grow together, the Leafs would eventually thrive. Well, isn't that exactly what Colangelo is doing (or at least attempting to do) right now? And still...the fickle fans of Toronto are saying he should get the boot.
I'm not some kind of Colangelo cheerleader, because between trading for Jermaine O'Neal, signing Hedo, and passing up on Michael Beasley in the Bosh sign and trade with Miami (Beasley is averaging just over 20pts and 7 rebounds per game), Colangelo has made some mistakes...but my point is that Raptor fans need to be patient if they want to see this team grow, because signing a bunch of vets that are falling apart at the seams is a temporary solution to an ongoing problem.
Bosh is gone and the Raptors need to rebuild around the young core of talent that we currently have...as much as it may suck to lose, it puts us in a better potential draft position, and gives us a better outlook for the future.