Song of the Day: Junior Mafia - Get Money
The summer of 2006 has been quite the busy one for the Toronto Raptors franchise. With a recent transition of the Raptor upper brass, Bryan Colangelo has come on board and overhauled the whole 2005-2006 squad wheeling and dealing to assemble a run-and-shoot up tempto game like his previous team Phoenix Suns. Basically, he's looking to build a Phoenix of the East. He's made some pretty big trades. Bonner, Villanueva, James all gone and in with new fresh talent. These moves were bold but it's really exciting at the prospects of the winning Raptors' franchise. My analysis of Colangelo's dealings so far have been very effective, but today's announcement of waiving the longest serving member of the organization and signing of high flyer Fred Jones left a bitter taste in my mouth.
If you've followed the Raptors in the early expansion days, players were leaving this Northern franchise. Like a revolving door, stars and hot shots were making a mockery of a very dedicated fan base. Amongst this chaotic time period, Alvin Williams, a hard-working, no-nonsense point guard out if Villanova solidified a position left void since the departure of "Might Mouse" Staudamire. Alvin worked his way to the starting position sacrificing his body for the love of the game and the franchise. Rather playing through pain than be placed on the bench, Williams set a precedent of dedication that many wished rubbed off on his friend and teammate, Vince Carter. Today, the longest serving Raptor was waived due to borderline chronic ankle and knee injuries that's Williams for the past four seasons.
After hearing the telephone interview Williams had with a Canadian Sports channel, Williams conducted himself with the utmost class and as a fan, it showed on and off the court. His years of service to the franchise will not be forgotten. Whenever I think of Vince Carter and his pre-Madonna persona, I will think of how Williams acted in the opposite manner, balancing out the over inflated ego of his more celebrated teammate. During the interview, his voice waivered and I could sense a sadness with each word. Williams' passion for basketball was taken away from him like a bully taking away lunch money. It's unfortunate that it had to happen this way, but Williams himself must have known it was due to happen. As dedicated as he was to the franchise, Williams even wanted to play for the Raptors for less money, just as long as he could play the game he loves. I really hope his body heals from the wear and tear and a team picks up a player who can lead by example and help in the development of younger players.
So back to the Colangelo press conference... Sure, it was a wise business move on Colangelo's behalf, but the execution of the situation was something left to be desired. I mean Williams has not been in any form to play at the NBA level for quite some time now, so the move was inevitable. But in the way Colangelo conducted the announcement was very unprofessional. So here's what happened... Colangelo calls for a press conference to announce the waiver of Alvin Williams and immediately follows with the signing of Fred Jones to the team. Sounds fine right? What really got to me was this picture:
Not only was Williams' departure just announced, but his jersey, number "20", of eight years was immediately given to Jones two minutes later. What the *obscenity* was Colangelo thinking?!? You just announced the walking papers to the longest serving Raptor and immediately turned around and gave his number away within the same press conference. How does this gesture look to you as a player? Does bitch slap come to mind? This is such huge disrespect to Williams. Given the circumstances, there's a possibility that Williams might not play again. And to boot, I'm sure Colangelo thanked Williams for his services to the organization his contribution will always be remembered yadda, yadda, yadda... and to turn around and do something like this contradicts whatever was just said. Even if it was just a press conference to announce a new player, pick a different number. When pre-season arrives, then re-assign the number. Bryan Colangelo.... WHAT THE *OBSCENITY*?!
In a time where many question the salaries athletes are making and the egos and baggage carried along with it, Williams was on the other side of the spectrum. And to see the treatment to such a player really taints all that Colangelo has done.
"I have the greatest respect for Alvin Williams, both as a basketball player and as a human being," said Bryan Colangelo
- The Star, Jul. 27, 2006. 06:09 AM
Do you Bryan?