Tuesday February 15 2011 – 7:21pm Eastern – Toronto, ON

Depending on who you listen to (or who you believe) … the long-term fate of Raptors President/General Manager Bryan Colangelo should be decided this week.  There are rumblings that the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Board of Governors plan on meeting with Colangelo and his expiring contract is sure to be a topic of discussion.

It is rumoured that Colangelo will be offered an extension.  But for how long … is anybody’s guess.

IF that is the case — if a contract is put forth — I’d guess that it would be a 2-3 year deal.

The critics will say that Colangelo has not earned an extension and Toronto would be better-served moving forward with a different GM.  And there’s no denying that the team has certainly not moved ahead under his reign.  The Raptors made the playoffs in each of BC’s first two seasons in town but they have not been in the post-season for 2 straight seasons and they’re about to make it #3 on the outside looking in.

But there’s something to be said for stability in the organization – and not just with the players and the core group on the floor.  What about stability from the top of the management team?

Plus, with Chris Bosh now in Miami … it can be argued that Colangelo is the ‘face’ of the Raptors franchise.  If somebody is representing the team and ‘selling’ TORONTO as a city and as a franchise, Bryan Colangelo is the one doing that.  Andrea Bargnani may (arguably) be the best player but he doesn’t have the reach or the cache in the league (yet?) to convince players to come to this city as free agents, etc.  And DeMar DeRozan is not on that level yet either.  Thus, BC and the “Colangelo” name is looked upon to not only build this team but serve as the figure-head of the club as well.

Year 1 under Colangelo was a huge success … with the Raptors winning their first-ever division championship.  But they bowed out in round 1.

Year 2 under Colangelo was ‘average’ in terms of the Raps’ record, but the team still got into the post-season and had what many considered to be their most ‘favourable’ match up (the Orlando Magic).  Again though … Toronto did not make it to the 2nd round.

Year 3 under Colangelo was a failure in many ways.  The Jermaine O’Neal experiment did not work out and the dismissal of Sam Mitchell may have come too soon.  Nonetheless, the team struggled to barely eclipse 30 wins and they were on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

Year 4 under Colangelo started with a bang.  He was able to acquire one of the top free agents (maybe THE top F/A) on the market in Hedo Turkoglu.  Toronto should have had a formidable front line with Bosh, Turkoglu, and Bargnani.  But the 3 never quite fit and Turkoglu did not turn out to be as-advertised.  His time in Toronto was a waste and there were serious divides in the Raptors locker room.  Add to the fact that Bosh missed the most significant games of the season (when many believe he should have been playing still) due to a nose/face injury and Toronto missed the playoffs AGAIN … on the last night of the season.

One good year.  One average year.  One BAD year.  One ‘incomplete’ year (in my opinion).

Then … there’s this season …

This year started off with the departure of Bosh in the summer and then the signings of Linas Kleiza and Amir Johnson.  Then came the acquisition of Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless … and the subsequent flipping of Stojakovic to the Dallas Mavericks as well.

With Bosh gone, many of the experts believed Toronto would scratch and claw — at best — to slide into the 8th seed but even more pundits thought the Raptors could struggle towards 20-25 wins.  Now that it’s playing out that way … the critics have come crawling out of the woodwork.  And that doesn’t seem to make sense.  Aren’t the Raps what you (most of you) thought they’d be?

Could Colangelo have dealt Bosh last season before he had a chance to walk via free agency?

Sure.  But don’t you think other teams in the league would have hesitated to make a move for CB; fearing that he’d never re-sign with them either?  And don’t you think Colangelo would have been hammered by many if he traded away the ‘franchise player’ when Toronto was sitting 7 games above .500 at the All Star break … holding down their best-ever record (in franchise history) at that point?

The Kleiza signing looks tough now … given the Lithuanian’s recent knee surgery and the Johnson extension was considered the ‘going rate’ for a player of his calibre at the time.  Plus, Johnson’s performance this year (when he’s not in foul trouble) has been valuable for Toronto in that he brings the defence, rebounding, shot-blocking, and energy that Jay Triano and company sorely need.

Has Colangelo’s time in Toronto been a home run?  No.

But has the GM been a complete failure as well?  No.

Going forward, if Colangelo is retained, changes must be made.  If he’s still running the show … his management team and scouting staff will have to be looked at.  Status quo can’t be the motto for everything and everyone.  And the leash will likely be (and should be) tighter.

However, stability from the top-on-down is a good place to start and having someone who knows and understands this market is important as well.  You could bring in a Kevin Pritchard or a Jeff Bower, but would they know or understand the challenges that come with being the NBA’s lone franchise north of the border?  Would you want to start from square one with one of those guys (who I’m simply using as examples) or would you want to ‘risk’ going with a first-time General Manager at a time when your franchise is at a crossroads in the post-Bosh era?

That’s what the MLSE Board is considering right now.  And if I had a vote, I’d be bringing Colangelo back.

E. Smith

17 Responses to “Colangelo’s Contract Coming?”
  1. 1.

    Eric…a couple things:

    (a) Bryan Colangelo has provided ZERO stability for this franchise. Nothing. Zippo. This team, as a result of his manic tinkering, has been devoid of stability since the day he arrived. He is the poster boy for having an extraordinarily poor attention span. I’ve never seen a GM bounce players around like it’s fantasy hoops. For that alone, there should be zero discussion as to whether or not he returns.

    (b) I’m sorry, Eric. Half the teams in the league make the playoffs. That first year — at best — was an average season. Was it a surprise? Yes. But, yet again, at the end of the day…you MUST look at the RESULT, not the process.

    The team lost in the 1st round. That’s the bottom line.

    It is insane to think that the main reason BC should be brought back is because of either stability or his track record. Both have suffered immeasurably since his arrival.

    I know I am not alone in saying that the resigning of BC would likely signal the end of my 12 years of being a season seat holder.

    - brento.
  2. 2.

    after reading that,,,it makes it clear e should be immediately installed as the raps director of PR,,,,,,wow wee,,,,,i need a shower after reading that,,,go raps go

    - lemongellofan
  3. 3.

    I agree Eric and I just want to add that if Colangelo wants to continue to be in Toronto (which he says he does) he needs to be more assertive. As aggessive as he was when he brought in O’Neal and Turkoglu, I think he needs to step it up a little more.

    If BC gets really aggressive, guys in the league will notice it and perhaps, as many things tend to do, it will roll downhill into the team.

    - T.J.
  4. 4.

    Well put Eric. I have a feeling that BC is the type of person who learns from his experiences. And, if that is the case, MLSE should bring him back and give him the support to put a good product on the court that will be competitive in the long term.

    I’m not sure if I’ve agreed with his core philosophy from the start. However, I see his willingness to adjust and make changes.

    BTW: As far as Bosh’s return tonight: It would be good if the fans applauded him when his name is announced and then release the venom on him for the rest of the game.

    - Greg Brown
  5. 5.

    Lemon … Do we have to do this EVERY time? Like what I say … dislike what I say … fine (look at me and Brento as prime examples). But at least I can have a ‘conversation’ with Brento based on point/counter-point. He presents a ‘case’. You just throw out immature accusations with little-to-no base. “PR”? Yes, I’m sure the PR wouuld talk about a tighter leash and changes in his management team and the fact that the team is really no further ahead now then when he got here 5 years ago.

    Give it a rest.

    That’s not PR.

    I’m simply pointing out that from a stability stand point, he’s still the best choice. Having someone to represent your team and be the face of your time … means he’s still the right guy. Having someone that knows your market and the special ‘needs’ of your market … make him the right guy still.

    Comment anytime … but how ’bout you try and bring it up a notch a bit.

    - Eric Smith
  6. 6.

    Eric, I totally disagree with you, and will lay out my reasons for not signing BC to another contract.

    #1 When Colangelo was hired, he had a perfect situation. The #1 pick, tons of cap space cleared for him, and Bosh. We all know how the #1 pick turned out – while I am not entirely blaming him for it, as it was a soft draft year, it clearly was not the best pick for the franchise.

    2. Coaching – Colangelo based on the team winning so many games, 47 I believe, with Mitchell and making the playoffs, ended up feeling the pressure (not sure why) and resigned Mitchell, when clearly the two of them did not see eye to eye. He should have had the strength to choose his own guy back then. This was followed by promoting Triano, another coaching move that befuddled me, as name me one other team that would be hiring Triano. Yeah, that is my point. Triano has shown to be a competent Assistant coach, but he lacks the respect to coach in the NBA, even with the US Olympic coaching on his resume. Triano is not the problem though, the point I am making is how Colangelo did not insist on getting a top coach for our market which does not affect the cap, and he couldn’t or wouldn’t get it done.

    3. His handling of Bosh – Where do I start. Firstly trying to build around Bosh, when the only way the Raps could be successful would be to get Bosh in a secondary role and find a way to bring an Alpha Male superstar, preferably a point guard, to run the team. I called 3 years ago to trade Bosh, when the timing was right to get a great return. It was not even considered. His hadling of Bosh after the fact, once Bosh was out the door, by badmouthing him, saying he quit on the team and cold have played, and how he changed after the All-Star break to a caring player to one who was mailing it in was totally inappropriate. Even if true, that kind of stuff is best kept internally, as all it did was make it harder to attract any star players here, as they wonder if they will be thrown under the bus, like Bosh was.

    4. Revolving roster – Colangelo makes way too many moves turning over the roster, and without running through his actual trade history, it has not been good overall. The stability has been lacking on the roster, and the players he has currently retained like Calderon, even though he almost was able to move him, are doing us more a disservice by having him log minutes for us.

    In summary, based on his actual record on the court and that means regular season and playoffs, how can you justify him deserving another contract? I can’t, and for that reason, regardless of the so called stability, I really couldn’t care about that, as by giving him another contract you are just rewarding someone for failing at their job, which he has done.

    - Raptors Devotee
  7. 7.

    It basically comes down too “who’s the best choice out there for the GM position, that’s available?” Colangelo is still the best choice. The first 5 years, he put his trust in Bosh and tried to build a team around him. In that aspect BC and Bosh both failed. Lebron won 60+ games with lesser if not equal talent. (A.P., Moon, Graham.). But now BC is starting fresh, doing a decent job rebuilding, freeing cap space, and acquiring good young talent. Derozan/ Davis really good picks. Just extend BC and let him continue to fix it. Unless Raptors fans want Babcock or Isiah back of course!? Think not! ;)

    - Alvarez
  8. 8.

    Colangelo hasn’t earned an extension , but I think he will get one .
    Hopefully, it’s only one year.

    - Chas
  9. 9.

    Wow, everyone’s a critic.. What people don’t understand is that in an insane sports market like Toronto, change is necessary when your team is not successful. Toronto is a market that is tough to sell and tough to retain. Why do you all think that every single superstar that has played here and bolted to a big market south of the border? Kudos to Colangelo for making changes when change is needed and for having the balls to roll the dice and make things happen.
    With the core pieces he has in place in terms of young players like Derozan, Amir and Bayless, etc. and the ridiculous amount of cap space he has to play with this coming off season, you have to give him a chance to make the most of his resources. The only move I don’t like is the Triano signing. Love me or hate me, but I don’t think he’s the right guy to lead this team to the post season.
    Maybe a one year extension for BC with the the almost unlimited opportunity he has this offseason…? Who knows, but I think he’s the right guy for this franchise and will remain a Raps fan through thick and thin, with him or without him.

    - Roger Warren
  10. 10.

    Colangelo made blunders that were avoidable .

    He fired Sam Mitchell and replaced him with Jay Triano .That has hurt the Raps as much as anything.

    He messed up with Bosh . There were lots of signs Bosh was leaving . He should have been traded for draft picks or players last season

    - Chas
  11. 11.

    Colangelo has done NOTHING to merit receiving the award of a contract extension. Nothing.

    The argument that stability can only be maintained through the continuation of a manager who has achieved nothing in this city is entirely flawed. It is a response of one thing: FEAR.

    If Colangelo is rehired, this franchise will appear the joke many in the US believe it is. How in the world can a team award a manager for achieving nothing? It makes no sense. One could argue Colangelo has actually set this team back…not merely flailed about, wasting precious time and money.

    And, the argument that Colangelo must be hired because the team is afraid it will hire another Isaiah or Babcock is beyond asinine. That suggests that if Colangelo decided not to return to the Raptors, the franchise would be left desolate, incapable of continuing on into next season.

    It is almost impossible to intelligently piece together an argument to bring BC back. It just doesn’t make any sense, whatsoever.

    - brento.
  12. 12.

    Had MJ not backed out of the trade that was set to go, we could be looking at a completely different team right now. But instead we are stuck with the SOFTEST center in the NBA when we could’ve had a legitimate post presence and other key pieces. Bosh didn’t go for nothing. BC is sitting on I believe about $14mil to spend as a TPE so those who think he just let him walk, you’re wrong. I foresee a very active deadline for this team and a MUCH improved squad for next season with the flexibility he has. Anyone who thinks that any other GM in the NBA can do a better job than BC is fooling themselves. A new coach, yes. A new GM, no way. Everyone is entitled to their opinion though, and mine is that BC stays, and we see a return to the playoffs in 2011-2012.

    - Roger Warren
  13. 13.

    Colangelo came in with a good situation (draft pick, cap space, bosh) and left it in worse condition. Therefore, he should not be re-signed.

    - Mike
  14. 14.

    One thing I like about what Colangelo is doing is that he is going into a potential post-lockout season with a ton of cap space. I think it reasonable that he be allowed to execute his plan.

    Whoever replaces him, if that is the outcome, will be a pretty good shape with a high, potential lottery, draft pick, young players like DeRozan, Davis and Johnson locked up, and lots of room under any size cap to manoeuvre.

    I agree things don’t look great in the rear-view mirror but the road ahead is pretty positive.

    - Barry
  15. 15.

    Hi Eric

    I totally agree with you about Colangelo I think he should totally be retained. My Opinion he gets the players that most likely triano asked for. It’s not his fault last couple of years the raps have struggled. if there was just a better coaching staff maybe they would have had better results.One more thing I kind of disagree with you and please don’t bite my head off I could have have read it the wrong way. But you mentioned how Bargnani is like the best player on the team and how he might one day have cache around the league. Well he might be the best player now but unless he dramatically improves his game I don’t see that happening having the cache around the league that you speak of. I think Derozan will eventually be the best player plus have that cache around the league. Honestly this year Derozan has really opened my eyes and he has turned me into a big big fan.

    Thank you

    - Steve S
  16. 16.

    You’re missing a few key elements here. You are attributing the first few succesful years to Colangelo. I feel Mitchell and Bosh had more to do with this success then he did. The roster turnover on this team is ridiculous and Mitchell made it work before Triano was brought into coach the team.

    Why was Triano brought in? Still anyone’s guess. As for this year. Now the Raps are apparently ‘rebuilding’ and developing the ‘core’ as BC likes to put it but if the Calderon deal went through in the off-season the Raps would be trying to fight for 8th seed in the playoffs, the Bargnani ‘enabling’ would still be taking place as he would be playing the 4 trying to hide his defence sacrifcing playing time for players like Davis and Amir who actually earn their minutes and the treadmill of mediocrity would continue.

    I know you guys put positive spins on things but Colangelo has not earned an extension and has not provided any stability so why should he be resigned? In any other industry if you don’t produce results you are not retained. He hasn’t prodiced any results and has no long term vision.

    - sleepz
  17. 17.

    Hi Eric,

    Aren’t you a bit too close to the Raptors Org. to be commenting on a matter of such import? This is imo a subject for recusal by practically (if not in reality) an employee of the company whose Pres. is BC.

    That said, your choice of stability as a major reason for re-employment is rather a thin one. Does big business typically tend to reward their ceo for stability reasons? You might just as well have chosen profitability as the reason he should be re-hired. This is a basketball team and as has been mentioned by others his faux pas(s) todate I am afraid have outweighed the successes.

    - TRap
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