Over at Sportsnet, I chatted with former Toronto Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald about the drafting of Vince Carter, trading Marcus Camby for Charles Oakley and Tracy McGrady’s decision to leave Toronto for Orlando.
Found out some interesting tidbits, such as how hesitant Oakley was about joining the Raptors at the time of the trade, and that Grunwald had considered trading T-Mac at the trade deadline before he hit free agency even though the Raptors were on their way to their first playoff appearance.
You can read the entire piece here. An excerpt is below.
“We needed to bring in leadership and people who understood how to win,” Grunwald explains. “We needed someone who could lead by example and be competitive on the floor.”
Oakley had come from a winning culture in New York, and had never missed the playoffs in his 13 NBA seasons. The Raptors organization was perceived to be a mess, and Grunwald needed to assure Oakley that better things were on the horizon.
“He wasn’t particularly excited. There was a negative perception of playing for the Raptors and playing basketball in Canada that we had to overcome. We were losing and people had many reasons to not want to join our organization,” Grunwald says. “Oak’s a grumpy guy. He gave his all while he was here and I have no complaint about that. But he had reasons to be skeptical given the season we just had. We met with him after the trade and told him we were making other moves to be competitive.”
The biggest of those moves was the draft-night acquisition of Vince Carter. With the fourth pick Toronto selected Carter’s North Carolina teammate Antawn Jamison and then traded him to Golden State in exchange for Carter—selected fifth overall—and cash considerations.