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News » Colangelo will use extra time to begin repairs

Colangelo will use extra time to begin repairs

Colangelo will use extra time to begin repairs
With precisely four games left in a lost season, Bryan Colangelo was talking about the kind of campaign-ending plans he's not accustomed to making in advance.

It wasn't earth-shattering stuff, just another piece of flotsam in the sea of minutiae an NBA GM must navigate. For these Raptors, the merciful end comes Wednesday in Chicago; tonight's game with the Wizards and Sunday's game with the Sixers are all that's left for the Air Canada Centre crowd. And while the day after the last Raptors game has traditionally been a time for front-of-the-camera storytelling for the GM, the head coach and key players, this year the day in question, Thursday, coincides with the NBA's board of governors' meeting in New York, where Colangelo's presence will be required. So Colangelo has been throwing out the possibility of pushing back his state-of-the-franchise address a few business days, this while conducting his traditional exit interviews with coaches and players - including a summit with Chris Bosh that the star forward has called "very significant" - in the days before Game 82.

"This'll only be the third time I'm not dealing with a last-minute planning situation, 'Okay, we just got eliminated, here's when the meetings will occur, here's when the playoff bonus will be split up.' All that stuff," said Colangelo. "This is a week before it all comes to an end ..."

When did it all unravel? Chalk it up to Jermaine O'Neal's bad fit or Jose Calderon's bum hamstring or Chris Bosh's post-November drop-off. Maybe it came unhinged when Colangelo didn't fire coach Sam Mitchell after last season's first-round playoff disappointment in Orlando, when the Raptors were eliminated by the Magic in five games. Yes, Colangelo would have been firing a guy who'd been to the playoffs two straight years and won a coach of the year trophy, but their philosophical fissures were obvious to anyone who spent any time around the club back then, and Bosh's public call-out of the playoff coaching strategy only underlined the lack of unity that existed between management, coach and roster.

And firing Mitchell 17 games into this season, with the club's record at a now-juicy-looking 8-9, thrust all parties involved in the worst possible situation. It put Jay Triano into an interim gig, not only without previous NBA head-coaching experience, but without the benefit of a training camp, and his 22-39 mark speaks at least partly to that pickle that presented for both Triano and his players. And it pushed Mitchell back to his Atlanta-area homestead, where he is being disparaged as a "paid bum" by his own mother - this from the mouth of Mitchell in a recent dispatch on Sports Illustrated 's website surmising the locale of Mitchell's eventual re-employment. (Washington, as the piece points out, makes sense, not only because Mitchell got his first NBA assistant's job from Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld, who currently employs an interim coach Ed Tapscott, but because Mitchell, a political junkie who thinks about Basketball in his spare time, would be a media darling in Barack Obama's D.C.)

None of this concerns Colangelo now, of course, nor should it. There are a zillion off-season scenarios to sort through. There are free agents in Shawn Marion, Anthony Parker and Joey Graham. There's a possible 2010 walker named Bosh. There is work upon work to be done - perhaps so much work that Colangelo turned off the broadcast of Wednesday's blowout in Indiana after the first half.

But he has done this work before. His teams have only failed to qualify for the post-season two other times, in Phoenix in 2004 and 2002. This is just the third time in his 14 seasons as an NBA GM that Colangelo can say exactly when his team's season will end. Even an executive who likes to control his environment's every variable would rather leave that date to the fates.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 10, 2009


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