Now that it’s the offseason, the Toronto Raptors can take some time to regroup and fix what’s not perfect. In particular, they need to make some decisions about specific individuals involved with the Raptors, whether they be managers, coaches or players.
First, the Raptors need to figure out what to do about General Manager Bryan Colangelo. According to Ryan McNeill on Yahoo! Sports, Colangelo is contemplating retirement from his position as president and GM of the Raptors because Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has not yet informed him about his future with the company. McNeill speculates that MLSE is “forcing Colangelo out without having the courage to actually pull the trigger.”
There have also been rumors about the Raptors’ possible interest in former Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson as a replacement for Colangelo, however Bleacher Report’s Justin Onslow recently deemed this an unlikely possibility.
Whether they want to keep Colangelo on and make him an offer or force him out and find someone new, MLSE needs to make a decision so that the Raptors can move forward in terms of their management. The sooner Colangelo feels secure about his position or the Raptors bring someone new in, the sooner the entire team and franchise can begin planning and preparing for next season.
There is a similar, albeit less pressing, question mark next to Toronto’s head coach Dwane Casey. Since he was brought in to repair and rebuild the Raptors’ defense, only to see the team fall from 14th to 22nd in defensive efficiency, fans and critics have questioned Casey’s abilities as a head coach.
Early on in the season, when the Raptors totaled a terrible 4-18 record, “multiple sources, including those within the organization, told the National Post [Colangelo] had discussed Casey’s job status,” as the National Post’s Eric Koreen reported.
Yet, Casey has finally appeared to solidify his bond with point guard Kyle Lowry. Moreover, Colangelo and Casey are reportedly happy about the prospective of working together again next season despite their rocky start to the 2012-13 season.
Dwane Casey’s contract expires after next season, so MLSE and the Raptors need to determine whether or not they will be shopping for a new coach, given the inconsistent, mediocre outcome of Casey’s coaching.
In terms of their players, the Raptors need to determine whether or not they need to do something about their current point guard situation. When they traded guard Jose Calderon in January to bring forward Rudy Gay to Toronto, Kyle Lowry took over the top spot at point guard. Though Lowry totaled a career high 4.7 rebounds and averaged a solid 6.4 assists per game, the guard failed to emerge as a true leader and facilitate effective offense in Toronto consistently.
However, Lowry did have to deal with changes in his teammates this season, and perhaps his game was affected as he adjusted to playing with new forward Rudy Gay and without Jose Calderon. Now that he’s finally developing a relationship with head coach Dwane Casey, Lowry may be more prepared to step it up at guard next season.
Nevertheless, if the Raptors want to make a move for a new guard, they need to begin formatting a plan now so that they can be prepared to potentially make a trade for someone new as the season gets closer.
Also under scrutiny is Toronto’s injured power forward Andrea Bargnani, who sat out early this season when he endured an elbow injury. Andy Schmidt of Rant Sports recently wrote, “[Bargnani] is under contract for another two seasons but after having an awful season, he is likely going to be moved.”
This season, Bargnani played in only 35 games and averaged a career-worst 3.7 rebounds and 12.7 points per game. Big players like Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas have surpassed Bargnani in talent and dependability, which means there’s not much need for Bargnani in Toronto.
Along with Colangelo, Casey and Lowry, the Raptors need to make a decision this offseason about Bargnani. Such decisions will allow Toronto to focus on organizing their roster and making improvements in anticipation of the 2013-14 season.