Tim Leiweke Rumors

The CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment will step down next year. The company announced Thursday that Tim Leiweke will stay until June 30 or a successor is appointed. The MLSE properties include the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC. Leiweke, who joined the group in April 2013, says he plans to own and operate his own business. In his short tenure, Leiweke helped Toronto land the 2016 NBA All-Star game, fired Toronto FC’s president and general manager Kevin Payne and brought in former star player Brendan Shanahan as president of the Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs missed the playoffs last spring, but the Raptors returned to the postseason for the first time in six years. Toronto FC is in third place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Leiweke predicted Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri will be pleased with the decision. “I think the happiest man is Masai,” Leiweke said. “He made this his number one priority and he told me if I didn’t get this done, he was going to kick me out of town. It is a good day for Masai and the team. I think the players in particular are going to be really pleased. They deserve a world-class facility.”
The points were driven home at a sit down on the eve of training camp with MLSE minority shareholder Larry Tanenbaum, president and chief executive officer Tim Leiweke and general manager Masai Ujiri. “Everything got put on the table, to be honest,” says Lowry. We all showed our hands, spoke honestly and that was that. “I told him I could play for him and he could coach me. That was a big thing for both of us: he coaches, I play and that’s it.”
“There’s a really special bond between [GM] Masai [Ujiri] and Kyle,” Leiweke said. “This town should be in love with this guy. What a great story. He’s vented that anger and energy that he had last year, and it was sometimes aimed at the refs, sometimes aimed at other people. He’s figured out how to vent that and put that into the team, and this team truly loves each other.”
wpid-i_c9_41_64_182648792.jpg
Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment group that owns the Raptors, answered affirmatively when CBC TV host George Stroumboulopoulos asked him whether the team can and will re-sign point guard Kyle Lowry (video link; scroll ahead to 5:50 mark). The point guard is set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, and ever since the team came close to trading him to the Knicks in December, there’s been little certainty about Toronto’s plans. Leiweke’s answers today offer the strongest indication yet that Toronto intends to retain Lowry.
A report Monday said a black and gold scheme has emerged as a contender and that makes sense, since global ambassador Drake has built his OVO brand around those colours. An advertisement on raptors.com for “Drake Night” at the ACC on Jan. 11 depicts a black and gold Raptors logo beside Drake’s similarly coloured owl trademark. When asked if the black and gold scheme is the current leading contender, Leiweke told the Sun: “We are looking at a few different ideas.” One of them would be a blue and white look, to tie in with the Maple Leafs and Blue Jays. Multiple sources said they have seen mockups featuring the black and gold design.
wpid-i_4f_89_b9_dwane_casey.jpg
At the end of the year, at least partly out of self-preservation, Colangelo chained himself to Casey … and was promptly fired (or re-assigned, if you prefer the vague language of press releases). New Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president and CEO Tim Leiweke brought in Masai Ujiri from Denver to replace Colangelo, and it seemed likely Ujiri would hire his own coach. “Anytime you have change like that, it’s always unsettling,” Casey said in a one-on-one interview on Wednesday evening. “I wasn’t the only one in the organization in that situation. It was unsettling.”
Well, it was an interesting hour, not horribly enlightening but interesting, that a group of us got to spend with Tim Leiweke and a few of his Henchpeople on Friday morning when he visited with our editorial board. The one thing that stood out to me, and I don’t think I’m talking too much out of turn here, is that he says he realizes now that he’s not the story, nor the focus and that, yes, he probably came off a bit brusque and a bit — I think was his word — bullish – in his first few weeks on the job.
wpid-i_e8_aa_fc_alvin_williams.jpg
Well, if Tim Leiweke wanted to make significant changes to get away from the Raptors past, he’s picked the right guy to fire. In what I think is a terribly short-sighted move that will rankle as many people as anything he does, Leiweke has told Alvin Williams that his services are no longer required. Yep, the chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment – on the job for less than a month – has jettisoned one of the great guys ever associated with the franchise and a man who wanted nothing more than to spend his entire career with the organization in some way, shape or form. Alvin had spent last season scouting for the team, based out of Philadelphia, but he was far, far more than just an employee picking up a cheque.
Tim Leiweke, the new CEO of the Raps’ ownership conglomerate, concluded that Colangelo was not the right guy to make those future moves. Now he just has to find a replacement, one who is willing to work with Colangelo hovering nearby, input at the ready. This is an attractive job in some ways. The Raps have been a high-payroll team, and they’ve indicated they are willing to exceed the luxury tax by a significant margin if doing so helps Colangelo’s successor build a winner, according to multiple league sources.