By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
It was a big day for the Toronto Raptors of the NBA yesterday- their annual Media Day.
Media Day in many circles for many teams is a ho-hum affair, but this year for the Raptors is different.
First, in the off season, Head Coach Dwane Casey was dismissed in spite of a successful sequence of winning ( albeit regular ) seasons.
Then DeMar DeRozen, more or less the face, maybe the heart, of the Toronto club, was dealt in a huge deal that landed Kawhi Leonard from San Antonio.
Leonard was a reluctant Raptor according to reports and it certainly appeared accurate when he vanished from the sports media landscape following the transaction.
But yesterday during Media Day, everyone was smiling and saying the right things, and Leonard, for his part, seemed to be enjoying the process and didn' look anything close to bothered about his new Canadian address.
The highlight of the function came from Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri who was asked about Toronto not being a primary destination for athletes, in this case, basketball players.
Bravo for Ujiri.
He's right. It doesn't matter whether we're talking the Raptors, Blue Jays, Leafs, whatever. Toronto has to be considered a top flight destination for athletes.
And if the trade pans out and the Raptors soar further than ever this season, Ujiri will be really right.
But should Leonard and/or the Raptors falter this year...I'll suggest the narrative that makes Masai Ujiri, and others bristle, will be stronger than ever.
I'm Fred Wallace