Toronto Raptors: Bobby Webster on Kings’ shortlist for GM job

Toronto Raptors General Manager Bobby Webster. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors General Manager Bobby Webster. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors’ Bobby Webster is reportedly among the Sacramento Kings’ preferred candidates to take over as general manager, but what is the likelihood of him going?

Dare we say it, but the Toronto Raptors have almost become the template for succeeding in the NBA. They have been to the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons, won six Atlantic division titles in that time, had five straight 50+ win regular seasons and, of course, won their first NBA championship last year.

Aside from the players, Masai Ujiri gets a significant portion of the credit, and rightly so. However, he will be the first to admit he couldn’t have done it without his staff, and this includes Bobby Webster.

In fact, Ujiri thought so much of Webster, that he promoted him to general manager in June 2017 after Jeff Weltman departed. Given the success of the Raptors this has since resulted in interest from other organisations, including the Chicago Bulls earlier this year.

Now, you can add the Sacramento Kings to the list. As reported by Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, Webster is one of a number of potential candidates in the search for a new general manager.

Anderson writes that the Kings will likely hire an executive search firm to help fill the position, which became available after Vlade Divac resigned last Friday. Other candidates apparently include San Antonio Spurs vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry, New York Knicks GM Scott Perry and Boston Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren.

Of course, Raptors fans are only concerned about the potential of Webster getting the job and leaving Toronto. It is understandable why the Kings would be interested in someone who already has a wealth of experience despite his young age.

Webster spent seven years at the NBA’s league office, which included the role of associate director and salary cap management. He became Ujiri’s first hire for the Raptors in June 2013 and at the time of being promoted to GM at the age of 32, becoming the youngest person in the league to hold this position.

Most Raptors fans will be familiar with the phrase ‘In Masai we trust’. All indications are that this extends to Webster as well, especially with the players.

When the Raptors departed for Florida, they were joined by Ujiri and Webster. Neither of them were under any obligation to travel with the team, but they both felt it was important to be with the players for the duration of their stay in the bubble environment.

The players certainly appreciated what Ujiri and Webster did. As reported by the Canadian Press via TSN last month, Patrick McCaw said:

"“Think about it, them making the sacrifice to be here with the team, being away from their families and their kids and their wives just to support us and help us finish the rest of this season with everything going on right now, the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement. They chose to be here with us and support us and be with us every step of the way.”"

Norman Powell was another player who shared his appreciation, noting that Ujiri and Webster are there to offer their support in any way they can, including asking individuals about their mental health. As per the Canadian Press, Powell said:

"“They’ve been really active in that and sitting in practice talking to the guys. It’s good to see those guys in practice and really interacting with everybody. We preach that it’s a family organization, and you can really tell.”"

Taking all of this into account it’s common sense to assume no one wants to see Webster leave fpr Sacramento, but how likely is this to actually happen? In reality, it’s unlikely he will take on the role of Kings’ GM.

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Apart from how important the Kailua, Hawaii native is to the Toronto Raptors, he is also under contract for one more season. In addition, the organisation will be facing a crucial period following the conclusion of the 2019-20 campaign.

Consider that Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are all set to become unrestricted free agents. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will also become unrestricted, while Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller will be restricted free agents.

VanVleet, Gasol and Ibaka will understandably be the main priorities. Regardless, the Raptors roster could potentially look very different next season, and Webster will play a vital role in helping the Raptors put the best possible product on the court.

Ultimately, if the report by Anderson is accurate, the Kings may well make a request to speak with Webster. However, it would be surprising if they are even granted an interview.

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In your opinion, how vital has Webster been to the Toronto Raptors’ success? Are you concerned about him leaving anytime soon, or confident he will be around for the long haul? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.