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Former Raptors GM Rob Babcock dead at 66

Former Raptors GM Rob Babcock dead at 66
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MILWAUKEE—Long-time NBA executive and former Raptors general manager Rob Babcock died of pancreatic cancer. He was 66.

Babcock is best known in Toronto as the general manager of the Raptors who pulled the trigger on the trade that sent Vince Carter to the New Jersey Nets for Aaron Williams, Eric Williams, Alonzo Mourning and a draft pick in December 2004.

One of his first moves as Toronto’s general manager — he took over in June 2004 after Glen Grunwald was fired — was selecting Rafael Araujo with the eighth pick in the 2004 draft after taking the advice of then-consultant Jack McCloskey.

Babcock was also responsible for signing free-agent Spanish guard Jose Calderon in 2005, the signature move of Babcock’s leadership.

He was fired in Toronto in January 2006.

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“A lot of people thought I was too college-ish, too much of a college guy trying to establish a college atmosphere,” Babcock said at the time.

However, his basketball career should not be defined solely by a tumultuous year and a half of leading the Raptors. He worked in various scouting roles with the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers and is perhaps best remembered for a decade and a half with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He joined the Raptors from Minnesota and went back to the Timberwolves organization after his departure from Toronto, finishing his tenure there as vice-president of basketball operations when he was let go in 2016.

“I got to know Rob well during his time with the Wolves and considered him a great friend,” Minnesota owner Glen Taylor said in a statement. “For 22 years he played an important role in the day-to-day operations of our basketball front office and was instrumental in shaping our roster during our eight-year playoff run from 1997 through 2004.”
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