Colangelo’s comments about Chris Bosh surprising
Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo went on the air yesterday, now three weeks after his former All-Star power forward decided to leave Toronto in favor of the Miami Heat, and basically declared that Chris Bosh quit on his team during the stretch run of the regular season.
After seemingly being a lock for a playoff spot midway through last season, the Raptors collapsed amidst a more difficult second half and missed the postseason by just one game. Bosh missed all of the twelve total games he missed throughout the season during the second half.
Talking on radio station FAN 590 in Toronto, Colangelo said Bosh wasn’t the same player toward the end of the year. He also complained that Bosh took an excessive amount of time returning from injury, an apparent reference to the seven games Bosh missed in February with a sprained ankle.
Despite limited swelling and any excessive damage on an MRI, he felt like he needed to sit for six more games. I’m not even questioning Chris’ injury. I’m telling you he was cleared to play subject to tolerance on his part, and the tolerance just apparently wasn’t there and he chose not to play.
Whether he was mentally checked out or just wasn’t quite into it down the stretch, he wasn’t the same guy. I think everybody saw it, but no one wanted to acknowledge it.
Colangelo went on to suggest that Bosh is not a franchise player.
We tried in vain to put pieces around Chris. Different pieces, different styles. It didn’t work out. No matter what type of player we brought in, it didn’t seem to have the right mix with him as that centerpiece.
That’s a bit disingenuous, considering it was Colangelo who acquired all those pieces that didn’t fit. The Raptors have added such underwhelming players that the best Bosh sidekick the Raptors could muster was Jose Calderon. The team had significant cap space in 2006 and 2009, and came away with just T.J. Ford and Hedo Turkoglu.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert effectively did the same thing in early July, accusing LeBron James of quitting during the playoffs. Gilbert told the Associated Press that it was accountability time for James.
He has gotten a free pass. People have covered up for [James] for way too long. He quit. Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar.
This type of behavior is, to the say the least, childish and wreaking of jealously for having lost their superstars – superstars that, despite their comments, they were each trying desperately to re-sign.
The childish part is, even if it were true, there is absolutely nothing to be gained for either organization by releasing this information in such a public forum. Colangelo and Gilbert are talking about players that are no longer a part of their teams. The comments therefore serve no purpose, other than to potentially draw more national ire to and destroy the legacy of these players. So are the comments driven purely out of bitterness? For spite?
I can absolutely empathize with the pain over losing your best player. There were more than just a few fleeting moments in which I felt the Heat was losing its own superstar in Dwyane Wade. I was pissed (though it should be noted I was blaming Pat, not Dwyane). As fans, we certainly have the right to express our bitterness. But management personnel have the responsibility to maintain the dignity and class of the teams for which they manage and the league for which they play.
The Heat’s own Pat Riley has done better by that standard.
In a Sports Illustrated article that ran on May 17, 2010, Shaquille O’Neal had this to say about his former stay in Miami:
I never got any rest in Miami. I still don’t know how we won that championship [in 2006]. F—— partied every night in Miami.
From a 52-30 finish that season, the Heat fell to 44-38 the following season, and then to a league-worst 15-67 in 2007/08, when O’Neal essentially forced a mid-season trade to the Phoenix Suns, blaming the Heat’s medical staff for his inability to get back to the court.
O’Neal hosted several parties during his Heat tenure, with conditioning throughout the roster deteriorating after the championship season. Antoine Walker and James Posey were both suspended by the team in 2006/07 over conditioning issues.
Since leaving the Heat, O’Neal has questioned Pat Riley, who coached the Heat to that 2006 championship, and has had tenuous moments with Dwyane Wade, who earned MVP honors for his performance in the Finals.
Pat Riley’s public response to any one of these departed former players? None.
I am not one to believe that Pat Riley’s professionalism had anything to do with his ultimate free agent coup. I am not one to believe a lack of management professionalism will significantly affect the recruiting efforts of future players. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe a select few players will be turned off by the prospect of playing for a management team that has shown it will publicly vilify players who don’t continuously live up to whatever standards they impose.
Either way, at least to this bias observer, it doesn’t seem the classy thing to do. While I certainly understand when fans present such opinions, I believe management teams need to live up to a higher standard in the public eye. In that respect, I am glad to have Mr. Riley on my side.