How Bryan Colangelo set up the NBA Finals

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I don’t have much to add to this article from Sir Charles In Charge’s Andrew Ungvari — I’m just going to recognize that it’s some excellent investigative work and deserves to be read in full. Basically, Ungvari did some homework, and figured out that both Miami and Dallas’ big roster moves can be traced back to some questionable GM work by current Toronto GM Bryan Colangel0:

By February of 2009, Riley was already focused on the Summer of 2010. He knew there weren’t any realistic free agent targets for the Heat with only the mid-level exception to play with. The Celtics were the defending champions and he wasn’t going to make his team a contender with just the MLE to play with.

So Riley dangled Marion’s expiring contract in front of Colangelo with the caveat that he take the remainder of Banks’ horrible deal. Toronto wouldn’t be able to get completely out from Jermaine O’Neal’s contract but they’d free up a lot of cap space, even with another season-and-a-half owed to Banks.

Here’s what I wrote a week prior to the trade when it became clear that the Raptors were intent on moving O’Neal:

“The problem with trading O’Neal is that the Raptors don’t want to trade him in a way that would do another team a favor by handing them a huge expiring contract that will give them the cap space to steal Bosh away from them.”

And that’s exactly what they did.

Had Riley not found a taker for Banks by the 2010 trade deadline then there’s no way he’d have been able to both re-sign Dwyane Wade and sign LeBron James and Bosh.

So that’s how Bryan Colangelo helped make “The Decision” possible. But what did he do for the Mavericks? I’ll throw it back to Mr. Ungvari:

In fairness to Colangelo, he was able to make some off-season moves before the 2009-10 season to try and impress Bosh. His big move was obtaining Hedo Turkoglu, Devean George, and Antoine Wright in a 4-team trade with the Grizzlies, Magic, and Mavericks. Who was the primary player he sent to the Mavs?

That’s right. Shawn Marion.

Whoever wins these finals, I’d imagine that Colangelo will be watching with interest — and maybe more than a little bit of regret.