Tag: Bryan Colangelo

Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets

When the lockout ends, the Raptors need to…


This is the latest installment of PBT’s series of “What your team should do when the lockout ends.” Up next is the Miami Heat. You can also check out our thoughts on other NBA teams here as we work our way through all 30 squads.

Last Season: Honestly, it could have been a lot worse. I understand that’s going to come as no consolation to Raptors fans who had to sit through a season with no defense yet again, where the team’s biggest star is the fans’ least favorite (Andrea Bargnani), and who never capitalized on the space gained from Chris Bosh’s rapid departure. But really, it could have been much worse.

The Raptors were simply a non-factor last season, and it wasn’t really anything surprising. You knew they would be bad defensively, and they were. Primarily, the players caught the heat for that. At no point was the blame directed at Jay Triano, despite the fact that system has more of an effect on NBA defense than personnel nearly every time. But there was a lot to hate about this team. Bargnani struggled with double teams and continued to be horrid defensively, at least as a help defender. (Research shows Bargnani’s actually pretty decent at man defense, but don’t tell Raptors fans, they’ll throw things at you.) Jose Calderon was overpaid still even if he contributed as much as he could. Amir Johnson was Amir Johnson and not the revelation many hoped he would be. Johnson was better at the things he’s bad at but not much better at the things he’s good at. Jerryd Bayless provided a spark but got lost in the mass and perhaps the most promising player was DeMar DeRozan.

Since we last saw the Raptors: Well, they hired an NBA champion assistant coach, for starters. Triano was lifted from the head coaching position and into a consultant role by Bryan Colangelo, while Dwane Casey was brought in. Casey is expected to bring in the defense he helped oversee in Dallas and focus on changing the culture of the Raptors. Speaking of Colangelo, the big guy was given an extension which almost no one understood as he has seemingly perpetuated the problems in Toronto with personnel and strategic decision making. The Raptors drafted Jonas Valanciunas who is expected to be the big tough center Bargnani never was, and there’s talk of Bargnani moving to power forward, since moving him is nearly impossible with the extension granted to him in 2010. Valanciunas won’t be available until the 2012-2013 season, however, due to his overseas contract.

The Raptors clear a ton of cap space this season, and a possible amnesty clause could have dramatic effects for them. Leandro Barbosa exercised his option before the lockout and is owed $8 million. But the Raptors will be clearing a lot of excess.

When the lockout ends, the Raptors need to:  Make sure there’s an amnesty clause. The Raptors aren’t in the worst shape financially. But an amnesty clause could do wonders for them. You’ll find a good discussion of their options for the amnesty clause here. Most notably, and this is tough for me to say, they need to find a way to rid themselves of Andrea Bargnani.

I’m a Bargnani guy. I think guys that can score from the 4-5 spot are rare in this league, and despite his terrible tendencies defensively, I don’t see a player beyond hope. I think with Dwane Casey working with him and beside Valanciunas, he could redeem himself for years of apparent apathy and laziness. But the Raptors fans I hear from are simply done with him. They want nothing more to do with him, they don’t want him to be the face of the franchise, and he is, by any and all measure, drastically overpaid. If it’s the amnesty, it’s probably going to Calderon. But Calderon will be movable in 2012. So will Amir Johnson. Barbosa might even be dumpable in a sign-and-release deal at the deadline. But Bargnani is anchored to Toronto due to his contract. He deserves a fresh start somewhere and Raptors fans deserve a reprieve from their frustrations with him.

From there, it’s just about building up. DeMar DeRozan has to make the leap this season. Not start to, he’s got to make it. Otherwise, the Raptors need to move him and aim for a draft pick in this year’s insanely good draft to nab a premier wing. Ed Davis showed a lot of promise, and the Raptors need to determine what they have with him. Casey needs to be supported in his efforts to bring in defensive personnel to reshape the identity of the team and the Raptors need to get to work on forgetting who they’ve been and trying to be something wholly different.

Raptors work through first round of front office interviews

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The Toronto Raptors are still looking for a new front office guy to have a fancy title and explain his decisions to Bryan Colangelo, who is shifting roles in the organization.

The Raptors are through their first round of interviews and have brought in some name people, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

Philadelphia 76ers general manager Ed Stefanski, San Antonio Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey, Indiana Pacers pro personnel director Kevin Prichard and former New Orleans Hornets GM Jeff Bower traveled to Toronto in recent weeks to meet with Colangelo, sources said.

There’s no clear frontrunner, but several sources have reason to believe Lindsey could hold an edge over the other three candidates. Lindsey is also on the short list for the Portland Trail Blazers’ GM job.

Lindsey may have his choice of gigs, and he already has a pretty damn good one so he can afford to take his time and be choosy. The other guys need a job — Bower is without one, Stefanski is in the final year of his deal with a team undergoing an ownership change, and Pritchard has a one-year scouting deal in Indiana that may or may not grow into something more.

We’d discuss the timetable for this decision if the Raptors felt any pressure to make this decision. But they don’t. So it could be a while.

Raptors GM search finds some candidates, slowly grinds ahead

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Someday the Toronto Raptors are going to hire a GM.

That day is not in the near future, but the process is slowly grinding forward. Not that there is any real pressure due to the lockout.

Apparently they have got some candidates in mind to join Bryan Colangelo running the Raptors, and eventually they will interview them. So reports David Aldridge at NBA.com.

Don’t expect any movement on the Toronto general manager’s search for a couple of weeks. Team president Bryan Colangelo was in Europe last week and won’t start whittling down his group of candidates until the middle of the month. Sixers GM Ed Stefanski, former Hornets GM and coach Jeff Bower and Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey are among the candidates, but former Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard is also believed to be in the hunt and is a strong candidate. Pritchard took a player personnel job with the Pacers earlier this summer, but has an out in his deal that would allow him to leave if a GM job became available.

That’s a good list of well-respected basketball minds. They could all help the Raptors. The impression, with Larry Bird likely leaving the Pacers after next season, is that Pritchard will get the chance to move up with that team. And there are questions about how much freedom any of these men will have with Colangelo still there. But still, a good list to start with. Once they really start looking.

Raptors considering several to fill GM role

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Bryan Colangelo has been calling the shots in Toronto and, well, that hasn’t gone as well as he planned. Now there is pressure on to win. Soon.

As part of that President and GM Colangelo is looking to bring in a GM to be part of the Raptors front office, and he has several candidates in mind, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

Former New Orleans Hornets GM Jeff Bower, Philadelphia 76ers GM Ed Stefanski and San Antonio assistant GM Dennis Lindsey are three focuses of the franchise to work under Toronto president Bryan Colangelo, sources said.

No formal interviews have been conducted, sources said, but Colangelo has started the process of getting permission from teams to talk to candidates. It may not be until August that Colangelo starts formal interviews for the job.

That may seem slow, but during the lockout there is no rush. Plus, there is a potential ownership change looming as Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment reportedly shops the team (although they do not appear close to a deal).

The real question is how Colangelo and any GM would work together — Bower, Stefanski and Lindsey are respected basketball people who would demand a certain amount of autonomy. While Colangelo would expectedly keep the ultimate power to approve or shoot down moves, but how much authority and influence would a new GM have?

Lots of questions, but in Toronto they need to figure out a way to change the culture of the franchise and bring in more wins. The right GM could help do that.

Report: Casey, Frank finalists to be Raptors head coach

Boston Celtics v Atlanta Hawks

While Minnesota and Golden State went the route of hiring television analysts, it looks like Toronto may be going the more traditional route of hiring a top assistant coach who has some head coaching experience.

That’s what Doug Smith is reporting in the Toronto Star.

According to multiple NBA sources, the Raptors have narrowed the search for a new coach to two men: Dallas Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey and Boston Celtic assistant Lawrence Frank.

Sources say president and general manager Bryan Colangelo has a strong desire to have a new coach in place as long before the June 23 NBA draft as possible but he cannot even begin interviewing Casey until the Mavericks are finished their NBA final series against the Miami Heat.

Casey is the former Minnesota Timberwolves coach who was pushed out there because owner Glen Taylor thought they should be winning more with their roster (Casey was 53-69), only to learn Casey was getting a lot more out of the talent given him then people realized. Frank was the head coach of the New Jersey Nets and spent the last season as a lead assistant to Doc Rivers in Boston.

Both solid choices. It would be nice to see Casey, a good man and coach who keeps getting close but passed over for jobs, get his chance, though.

Casey or Frank will replace Jay Triano, who struggled to get the Raptors to play enough defense in his two years as head coach of the team.