Well you have to hand it to Bryan Colangelo in terms of he is never at a loss for words. He had lots to say, that being said Raptor fans may not have like some of it. The fact Jay Triano's job is safe would be at the top of the list for many. According to Holly Mackenzie there were 7500 words in all. She would know as she posted a full transcript of what B.C said on the Nothing Easy blog on The Score. Here is the quote the that makes Jay Triano breath easy. B.C said, " I look around the league and I count as few as six and as many as nine possible coaching vacancies this summer. I have no intention to make this one of those nine." So that answers that question. If you think Jay is the problem clearly Bryan does not agree with you. He would go on to say Jay is a young coach in terms of his position as an NBA Head Coach and is learning. He claims that the coach and Hedo left things being on the same page. So, some how Jay Triano has managed to survive this post All-Star collapse with his job.
Colangelo said of his own performance, "I’m not proud of averaging 40 wins and only making the playoffs twice. I’m just not". He is not alone in that, if you listen to talk radio or scan the internet you will find many people the same, and some even wanting Bryan to be gone. However Bryan thinks that picture that media and blogs paint, is one that is far more doom and gloom than the reality. Forgive me if I am not that optimistic, when it would appear the team's best player is on his way out. Colangelo did little other than put out a token effort that the Raptors would like to re-sign Chris. Here is what he said on Bosh's Future," It’s the biggest unknown right now, but I would tell you that I fully embrace the notion and fully intend to talk about him staying a Raptor and talk about the things that might happen, should he stay and talk about the success we might have should he stay and why Toronto is the right place for Chris Bosh ". Colangelo would later go on to confirm what Chris Bosh had said, that regardless of stay or go, he and Bosh have a deal to work together. Which makes it seem more likely the Bosh Era will end via "Sign and Trade" in the summer.
This of course leads to Andrea Bargnani as the face of the franchise and most likely the most talented player on the roster. What would B.C say the impact would be on Bargnani should Bosh go. Colangelo said the following on this topic " I don’t know if he’ll ever be ready to replace Chris fully, but he’ll have the opportunity to assume a much bigger scoring load, he’ll have the opportunity to emerge as a more a dominant scorer within this team. There’s times when he gets a little lost in the offense and he gets a little anxious when he does touch the ball. But you’re talking about a seven-footer who is 24-25, he’s got better – with the exception of staying flat the second year – he’s gotten better every step of the way. Despite the constant, constant criticism of the contract, it’s a very good contract. There are a lot of people out there in the league seem to agree with us. That it’s a very good contract for a kid with that kind of production and that kind of potential. For another $15m more you can get 1.2 rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge..it’s a very good contract. There’s a lot of value there and there’s a lot of interest in him. He’s going to have a chance to emerge if Chris leaves and if Chris stays then we’ll find way for him to get better at things he needs to get better at. Rebounding he’s got a little bit better, but it’s not good enough." Seems a bit defensive doesn't he? Unlike the team he constructed.
So time out, I have some rebuttal if you do not mind. The contract is bad if Bargnani never lives up to it in terms of his potential. The fact we still have to talk about Bargnani still in those terms is reason enough for me to call that a bad contract.Then the comparison between Andrea and Aldridge is smoke and mirrors. Come on now seriously, who would not trade for Aldridge straight up for Bargnani and not blink. Colangelo refuses to admit that he made a mistake on Bargnani and he never will. Also when his biggest supporter tells you he will never fully replace Chris that is cause for concern.
From Bargnani to Raptors version of the movie "Groundhog Day". Once again we have 2 point guards and only one starting spot. Playing the role of T.J Ford is Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon returns as Jose Calderon. Tell me if this B.C quote sounds familiar at all. Bryan on his point guard situation-" They both want to be here. They both have professed to not care about starting. Clearly there was some sort of disconnect there. We need more consistency at that position. It’s just that simple. That’s probably an indictment of both of them. At the same time, it’s an acknowledgment that we’ve got two very talented players that are capable of playing and starting and leading the team. Jose did it during stretches and Jarrett did it during stretches. We need to truly ascertain whether they can play together and co-exist. If we come to that determination that something needs to be done, we’ll make a move. That’ll be something that we heavily scrutinize this summer, this off-season." Let me just say this. Somewhere out there in Houston Texas, T.J Ford is laughing and saying I told you so. Hey here is an idea, trade Jose for T.J and we can do this all again next season with Jack and Ford. If Jack is the one that ends up voted off the island, Bosh leaves and Triano stays that is a "trinity of terror" for most Raptor fans. Colangelo wants to say that it is a small but vocal minority that is painting all of this doom and gloom. However I interact with Raptor fans every single day and trust me it is not a minority. From the casual fan to the die hard Raptor fans everyone is concerned. The root of that concern is how this team defends, and to bring back the coach responsible, and the point guard with no defense in his game, while the star player walks is truly a "trinity of terror". That is not doom and gloom talk, that is just reality for most Raptor fans.
Bryan was asked about if he felt the fans frustration? B.C said " I feel their frustration. I think they would be less frustrated if there wasn’t such a frenzied movement." Cool I am part of a frenzied movement. Tell us more on this new group I am part of. Colangelo would explain this movement, in this quote " But we cannot be swayed by the angst of a vocal minority that wants us to be someone we’re not. What we are is we’re a solid organization, one of the best-run organizations in the NBA and in professional sports. Top to bottom. I’m talking about hockey, basketball, soccer, real estate, everything. Television. it’s a company that will do everything in its power to answer the fans’ concerns, and that’s what we’re doing. The one thing we control is our effort and our attempt to make it happen." Allow me to respond to this.
When is MLSE going to understand a couple things? Just because you own a hockey team, soccer team, Condos, and many other things does not interest me as a Raptor fan. I am ONLY a Raptor fan and none of these other things concern me, unless they impact on the Raptors. They as an organization have said the Raptors Organization is committed to winning a championship. That is what I am concerned with. That is all I am concerned with. If your hockey team sucks or wins the Stanley Cup (insert 1967 joke here) I could careless. Colangelo in talking about Bosh and re-signing mentioned the idea of being a national franchise with opportunities for Chris to be marketed in Canada. Well do you think people in Calgary, Vancouver, St. Johns, Saskatoon, Thunder Bay or any other city care about these other things. Do they care if the Leafs or Toronto FC win? Do they care if you sell condos in Toronto or not? No, they care if the Raptors are successful. No one is disputing the fact MLSE is a successful and well run organization in terms of profitability. They also do not care about those things. They care about winning and the Raptors ultimate success on the floor.
That leads to this whole topic of the Raptors being a tax team or not. MLSE has always left it out there, that they are willing to be a team that goes over the tax threshold, but have never ventured beyond it. Once again Bryan threw out the MLSE line on this topic. He said " The commitment is there from ownership to exceed the tax if necessary. And we’ll do what we can to bring the right pieces in." Chris Bosh in his exit interview made a point, that he believes it is a requirement to being a championship team. Which I agree, as did Jack Armstrong and Alex Seixerio in recent interviews. So why has this not happened in Chris Bosh's time here? This Organization has said they want to win a championship. Ironically it would appear they may become a tax team after their best player leaves. They may have no choice given the contracts of Turkoglu, Calderon and Bragnani. In fact B.C detailed that he has several plans that would include being a tax team. Here is what he said, "the amount of flexibility we have that will determine to what extent we exceed the tax. I’ve got scenarios where I can paint a picture that we’ll be a 3-million-dollar tax team. I’ve got scenarios where we’ll be a 7-million-dollar tax team. And I’ve got scenarios where we’ll be higher than that. But they’re all scenarios because of the unknowns of free agency and the off-season that have yet to be determined. Today, those answers aren’t available.". It is an off-season full of unknowns not just for the Raptors but many NBA teams.
What was made pretty clear is that the Raptors you see now, will not be anything like the Raptors you see in October. Colangelo seems committed to changes regardless of if CB4 is on board or not. In the past, a press conference like this would have calmed Raptors fans. However not this time around. Bryan Colangelo is still the same guy. Confident and secure that he can save the day. The difference is the Raptor fans have lost the total faith in him that they once had. Colangelo is still the same guy he was when he rolled into Toronto, it is just people instead of bowing and saying thank you for coming to save us. They now see him as the reason for their pain. I will close with a Jack Armstrong line. Bryan has gone from "Peacock today" to "Feather duster tomorrow". When the dust all clears will he still be the super genius we all use to think he was? Time will tell. However let me make it clear. Nothing would please me more to write that Colangelo was right. As I mentioned in the interview with Alex Seixerio, it is no fun to cover a team that fails. It is not good for business ether. So nothing would please me more than for Bryan to be right and successful this off-season. That being said it is hard to see a path to that success given what we know. Good luck to him as I have a feeling as smart as he is, some luck is going to be required.