Jay Triano

Raptors let go of coach Jay Triano


You can question if he got as many wins as one could out of the talent given him (which wasn’t much). You can’t question that the Raptors have been an abject disaster defensively for two years running.

That has led to Toronto not picking up the option on coach Jay Triano’s contract for next season.

He’s being let go as coach but will remain with the team as a “special assistant to the GM,” according to that GM, Bryan Colangelo. The move was announced during a team conference call Wednesday evening.

“I have great respect for Jay Triano both as a person and as a basketball mind,” Colangelo said in a released statement. “Jay deserves tremendous credit for developing our young players this past season and our most recent win-loss record does not appropriately reflect his many positive contributions to this organization.

“This was a difficult decision to make, but after almost three full seasons of observation and evaluation I believe that bringing in a new voice as head coach will accelerate the progress we are looking to make in the coming years.”

Colangelo, who built the Euro-heavy roster that has struggled so much, just got a very healthy extension. So what does Triano’s firing mean? That someone had to be the scapegoat, maybe. Or maybe we will see a shift to a more traditional roster.

As for who is next, good question. Look for the names being discussed elsewhere — Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank, Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer, of course Rick Adelman — to get mentioned. It really depends on what the Raptors are trying to build. This team needs a new identity.

None of us have been able to figure out what the Raptors want to be. But whatever it is, the focus needs to be on starting to play some respectable defense.

Report: Cavs sign Dionte Christmas

Dionte Christmas
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The Cavs are shorthanded in the backcourt right now, with Kyrie Irving still out and Iman Shumpert sidelined for up to three months. Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re bringing in former Temple guard Dionte Christmas, who played for the Suns in 2013-14:

In 31 games for the Suns two seasons ago, Christmas averaged 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game. He probably won’t get very many minutes if he makes the Cavs’ final roster, but there’s a chance they’ll keep him around on a non-guaranteed deal until Irving and Shumpert are healthy, just to have another body in the backcourt.

Sixers’ Wilbekin hits game-winning three vs. Cavs (VIDEO)

Scottie Wilbekin
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LeBron James sat out the Cavs’ preseason game against the Sixers on Thursday night, but Cleveland still held the lead for all but the final 5.4 seconds. Then, Sixers rookie Scottie Wilbekin did this:

Wilbekin, who played college ball at Florida, has a chance to earn legitimate minutes for the Sixers this season as they try to find young talent on the cheap. This is a good start.