Wednesday , Dec , 03 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Re-signing Chris Bosh and politics: Why Toronto Raptors really fired Sam Mitchell

Less than eighteen months ago, Sam Mitchell was the NBA’s Coach of the Year. The award supposedly gave Mitchell a measure of credibility as a sideline boss and forced Toronto’s management to re-sign him to a four year, 16 million dollar contract. The future looked bright. Today, the former journeyman forward is unemployed after the Raptors’ dreadful showing against the Nuggets …


Re-signing Chris Bosh and politics: Why Toronto Raptors really fired Sam MitchellBreaking news mixed with analysis …

Their News: Sam Mitchell was fired as head coach of the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, a day after the team suffered the fifth worst defeat in franchise history, a 132-93 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo called it a “difficult but necessary step the franchise must take.” (TSN.ca)

Our Quick Analysis: Less than eighteen months ago, Sam Mitchell was the NBA’s Coach of the Year. The award supposedly gave Mitchell a measure of credibility as a sideline boss and forced Toronto’s management to re-sign him to a four year, 16 million dollar contract.

The future looked bright. Today, the former journeyman forward is unemployed after the Raptors’ dreadful showing against the Nuggets.

Yesterday’s loss was just the trigger for his firing. Toronto had an up-and-down 2007-08, but fell short of expectations with a first round playoff defeat. This year, the players have tuned-out Mitchell’s tough love message.

However, an 8-9 record isn’t terrible. Keep in mind their second best player, Jermaine O’Neal, missed games with an assortment of injuries. Other factors played into this decision.

He was never the GM’s choice. Remember, Colangelo inherited Mitchell from a previous Raptor regime and, despite their professional relationship, has probably always wanted ‘his guy’ to coach.

Now was his opportunity. Two summers ago, Mitchell was a hot commodity, so Colangelo had to re-sign him and keep the fans, players, and powerful MLSE board happy. Last year Mitchell got a pass; no executive fires a coach the first year into an extension.

Two weekends ago, Chris Bosh was unhappy with the Celtics embarrassing the Raptors at Air Canada Centre.  He was outraged at his team’s poor play. Management and ownership, after watching Bosh breakdown, realized they must assemble a winner to re-sign their superstar when he becomes a free agent in 2010. So they let go of the coach.

Mitchell’s firing shows much can change in eighteen months. If his successor fails then other franchise-altering changes will occur.

Should Mitchell have been fired? Get at us in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for further NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of RaptorsTalk.com.