With Media Day and the expected announcement of the 2016 All-Star game set for Monday, who saw the real story becoming Drake’s official partnership with the Raptors (as first reported by The Star’s Cathal Kelly)?
You can mock the idea of the Raptors turning to a Toronto-repping hip hop star for help with their rebranding (and the reported clothing line) all you want. But in the most star-driven of stars’ leagues, a little help from an international superstar (whether or not you like his music is irrelevant to the fact that Drake is just that) with well known connections to the league’s elite can’t hurt.
Does Drake being involved with the team amount to any assurance of credibility or on-court success? Of course not, and in fact there are likely those who see just the opposite. But if Aubrey Graham wants to flex his star power on behalf of Toronto the next time the Raptors have money to spend in free agency and a superstar or two in their sights, this fan base should be welcoming the marketing ploy with open arms.
If Rudy Gay opts out and Kyle Lowry walks (or is renounced), the Raptors could find themselves with max cap space next summer for what’s shaping up to be a similar free agent bonanza to 2010, but the more realistic target seems to be the summer of 2015, when DeMar DeRozan and Steve Novak are currently the only Raptors with guaranteed money on the books (Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross both have team options as part of their rookie scale deals, while Quincy Acy and Dwight Buycks have potential qualifying offers on the books).
For what it’s worth, the 2015 free agent class could include Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap, among others.
Now in terms of that rebranding we keep coming back to, here’s what Kelly writes in his Star report:
According to sources at MLSE, everything about the team is on the table . . . aside from the name. Give up your Huskies dreams. MLSE and Drake are sticking with dinosaurs.
Okay so it sounds like The Raptor and the Raptors name won’t be headed to Belize after all (HAD to make a Breaking Bad reference today). So what exactly is this reincarnated brand going to entail? A logo change? Completely new uniforms? Both?
The one thing that I can’t see changing is the red and white colour scheme, since Tim Leiweke first brought up a possible rebranding while discussing how he wants to make the Raptors more obviously ‘Canada’s Team.’ Having said that, the whole ‘Canada’s Team’ thing hasn’t really come up since, and I also can’t see all this talk of rebranding ending with only a slight change of dinosaur logos and the same general look, right?
In any event, Monday’s gathering, which in addition to Drake will include Adam Silver, Michael Chan (Ontario’s Minister of Tourism and Culture), Larry Tanenbaum, Tim Leiweke and Masai Ujiri, is set to be the most fascinating Media Day in team history.
I’ll be back to discuss it all later today.