After coming under fire, GM gets fired

TORONTO -- Glen Grunwald was fired as the Raptors' general
manager Thursday with two weeks left in a second straight losing
season in which he clashed with the coach.

Grunwald, Toronto's GM for seven seasons, was replaced on an
interim basis by Jack McCloskey, a former general manager of the
Detroit Pistons. Grunwald has been with the Raptors since their
inception in 1994.

"I think I can help in this situation," McCloskey said.
"There has been great fan support, this team has an opportunity to
get better.

"We've got to make the draft picks, we've got to make the right
choices on a new general manager."

He said the goal is to bring in leaders.

"We didn't make the strides that we thought we would," team
president Richard Peddie said. "We're standing here with 30 wins.
It's time for someone else to come up with a master plan."

The Raptors have been riddled with injuries for the second consecutive year, but critics claim that Grunwald's plan was flawed. After trading Antonio Davis to the Bulls in December, the Raptors have played without a true center all year. O'Neill has publicly complained about the team's lack of depth and a big man, and Grunwald's job has been in jeopardy ever since.

Peddie said Grunwald will advise the team on the draft, and the
new general manager will decide if coach Kevin O'Neill returns.

Peddie acknowledged the tension between Grunwald and O'Neill,
who has a year left on his contract.

"There was a conflict," Peddie said. "I don't want to deny
there was because you all know there was. It didn't help."

Grunwald added: "We went through a difficult situation."

Peddie said he decided to remove Grunwald after the rift became
public last week.

"The decision was already made," he said. "It affected the

Grunwald's contract expires after this season. Peddie told
Grunwald of his decision Monday, and allowed Grunwald to decide
what date it would be announced.

Fans booed the Raptors after they lost their fifth straight game
Wednesday night to drop to 30-44, 11th place in the Eastern
Conference. After going 24-58 last season, the Raptors fired coach
Lenny Wilkens and replaced him with O'Neill.

"I was still hopeful that things that we had discussed in terms
of improving the team could have winded up being a successful
situation," Grunwald said.

Grunwald was assistant general manager before becoming GM in
1997 when the club finished the season 16-66. The team improved
after Grunwald drafted Vince Carter in 1998, but has struggled
since Grunwald re-signed the injury-prone Carter three years later.

In an effort to keep Carter in 2001, Grunwald signed Davis, Jerome Williams, Alvin Williams and Hakeem Olajuwon to
lucrative deals that have since hindered the club.

"We re-signed all the guys," Peddie said. "We thought a
missing piece was a big man, but it didn't work out."

Information from ESPN Insider's Chad Ford and The Associated Press was used in this report.