Bryan Colangelo states, what has been obvious to Raptors fans, that this season so far has been an embarrassment.
He was scheduled to join the team in Los Angeles, on their current west coast trip that ends in Portland. The scheduled trip has turned out to be more a case of crisis management, for a team who has seen it's season go completely off course.
The Raptors have been 0-4 on their west coast road trip to this point, after a loss to Los Angeles Clippers Sunday 102-83 at Staples Center. They are now 1-13 on the road, with their only win in which they scored five points in the final quarter hanging on to defeat Indiana on November 13th.
Colangelo claims, the Raptors problems are not about the roster or the collection of talent. He feels that it is a lack of focus on the part of his basketball team.
He points to the inability to close out games. Raptors have been just terrible in the fourth quarter of late. Close games have not been an issue in the last few games.
While it was reported by ESPN Los Angeles that both Toronto and Minnesota Timberwolves had inquired about a trade for Pau Gasol. Colangelo seemed to stress that while the team is active, that there is no magic trade that he can make that will cure the Raptors problems.
The main piece in that trade proposal was Andrea Bargnani who has been the source of Raptors fans anger.
Colangelo had little to say about his first overall pick Andrea Bargnani. Rather than to single Andrea out, he chose to say that everyone owns a piece of the blame including him.
Not that anything seems to bother Anderea Bargnani. Who has heard the trade rumors, but doesn't seem all that concerned by them. Which is part of the frustration that Raptors fans have with Andrea Bragnani.
This attitude of seeming to not care about just about anything at all. Fans still care and they quite frankly are as mad as I have seen, since maybe when Vince Carter was traded to New Jersey.
On television as part of the broadcast on TSN, Colangelo said something that seemed to be an attempt at humor, but came off as kind of shocking he would say it. “If I have any issue with our coaching staff, we won too many games last season,” said Colangelo to the national T.V audience in Canada.
It is kind of true, but not something you expect to hear coming for the president of your basketball team, or any basketball team really. The former New Jersey Nets had no problem producing a roster of NBDL (National Basketball Developmental League) players mixed with Nets' bench players to face the Raptors to conclude the season.
The Raptors winning that game proved to be costly, as they lost a coin flip based on that victory leaving them with the same record as the Golden State Warriors.
This was the difference from the chance to draft Harrison Barnes or Terrence Ross with your pick as it played out. The Raptors had shown interest in Barnes, a standout at North Carolina. The Raptors issues at small forward have been fairly glaring. If they drafted Barnes, does Colangelo follow through on his Landry Fields move as part of his pursuit for Steve Nash?
There are probably a lot of questions about “what if” that the Raptors and their fans are asking these days. That said, the grim reality of the Raptors situation is sinking in for everyone.
Colangelo may in fact see his own future with the Raptors coming to an end.
He referenced his pick of Jonas Valanciunas, as him always doing the right thing for the franchise's future, regardless of his own personal contract situation. He said, that regardless of he is around to see it, that Jonas will be a fixture on the franchise for years to come.
This comes from an interview with the Fan 590’s Eric Smith who is part of the Raptors radio broadcast team with Paul Jones.
Some fans are calling for Colangelo’s head for the brutal start to the season. It may not be an ideal time to drop the axe on Colangelo. This is unless you like the idea of Ed Stefanski as the Raptors’ general manager.
He would seem the obvious in season replacement, if Colangelo was to be let go now. Be that in a permanent capacity or an interim one.
If not, Colangelo has an option on his contract for next season that the Raptors could simply decline at the end of the year and conduct a full search and entertain the idea of candidates from outside of the organization.
Ironically, had this happened a few years sooner, the Raptors had a pretty capable man for the job working for them. He is the current general manger of the Denver Nuggets Masai Ujiri.
He served prior to taking the job in Denver as one of the assistants under Colangelo in Toronto.
Another one of those "what if" moments for the Raptors to ponder. Ujiri has been praised, for his handling of the toxic situation he faced when he arrived in Denver with Carmelo Anthony.
Having a front row seat for watching Chris Bosh cut bait and run to Miami, was a great learning experience for him. It no doubt played a role in the brilliant trade he was able to construct with the Knicks to send Anthony there.
The “what could have been” scenarios are a lot more comforting to deal with, as opposed to the cold reality the Raptors’ playoff chances could already be gone in Mid-December.
Colangelo’s future and what he will ultimately can do to try and alter it, have become the biggest story right now for this franchise. While the losses mount on the court, it becomes even more the focus of attention.
Colangelo you would have to figure has run out of time in Toronto, in terms of getting yet another chance to rebuild this franchise. Maybe he is guilty of winning to much as well, setting the bar so high when he first arrived in Toronto.
Now the man that has stated on many occasions how much he hates to miss the post season, has missed them for several years.
The last time Toronto was in the postseason was in the spring of 2008. Since that time Colangelo mistakes have been many and he has hired two coaches since showing Sam Mitchell the door.
Now this time Bryan Colangelo maybe shown the door himself, is seeming to be likely and nearing with every loss. This from a team he claimed would contend for the playoffs on media day.
He has become like the Wizard in the story the Wizard of Oz. Once thought of as powerful and able to fix any problem, is now just a guy behind a curtain pulling levers.
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