Raptors GM Colangelo on the hot seat?

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Bryan Colangelo was considered a can’t miss GM when the Raptors hired him, coming from the Suns who he helped build into a playoffs, if not championship, juggernaut. But things haven’t gone so well north of the border, as the team actually seems to have regressed significantly since losing to the Magic in 2008.

And with Chris Bosh making noise about leaving on Twitter, after an 11-19 finish, and with little hope of attracting free agents and little cap room thanks to big, long term contracts to Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu, who both failed to live up to expecations, the heat is on in Toronto.

The Globe and Mail reports that Colangelo is feeling the pressure from his ownership conglomerate bosses, and is entering the last year of his contract.

With the money left on Colangelo’s deal limited to this year, it provides Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. an out from a costly buyout. Which means that if they want to part ways with Colangelo, now would be an excellent time to do so before granting an extension to him.

Colangelo brought the offense from Phoenix, bringing in versatile players that can play multiple positions and hit from anywhere on the floor. But he also brought together a roster and coaching staff under Jay Triano that had one of the worst defenses in the NBA, and only seemed to get worse as the season went along. Now it faces the prospect of losing its best player and All-Star and being left with the incomplete pieces, which could spell an even further drop down the standings.

Colangelo’s going to need to pull a rabbit out of his hat in the next 12 months if he wants to keep his Italian wardrobe in good condition.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.