So you might have heard that Bryan Colangelo is back. So after a month in limbo what does Bryan Colangelo have on his to do list? There are lots of things if he plans on this team being better whenever we are playing basketball again. Here is a list of some of the major ones.
1. Decide on Jay Triano- Now it would appear he has this one already made. But does he simply just pick up the option on Jay's contract and let him play it out? That is what you hope will happen. Could he actually give Jay an extension? If he were to extend Jay it would be pretty much tying his own future to Triano's. Colangelo himself only has two years plus an option so it would seem logical he gives himself the option to make a coaching change if need be by just picking up the option. But if you are hoping for a change now, Bryan has given every indication that Jay Triano will be back and this is likely taken care of very soon.
2. Pick, Trade Down or Trade Out- What will Colangelo do with the draft after falling to #5 after the draft lottery. In his post season remarks he seemed willing to move the pick if the right deal was out there. After the lottery he seemed to be more likely to keep the pick. Although he admits that after the first two picks in this draft there is a ton of uncertainty. Tristan Thompson lies out there likely as a pick near the end of the lottery. He plays at a position where the Raptors are pretty much set though. You could get out of the draft altogether and perhaps tie one of the players you would like to move with the pick. Colangelo admits his greatest need is a center and that no one like that exists in this draft. Any team want the 5th pick and Jose Calderon or Andrea Bargnani? Bryan Colangelo is looking to find out you have to imagine.
3. Reggie Evans In The Mix?- Reggie Evans is the one free agent that has some questions on if he will be back or not. It is safe to say that Sonny Weems and the rest of the Raptors free agents are likely gone. In terms of what your plan is with Reggie could impact on the draft. If you are not looking to bring back Reggie Evans it opens the door to draft a Tristan Thompson or someone else at the four spot. Problem is you will not know what the cap will be and how Reggie can fit or not fit prior to the draft. Should the Raptors draft Thompson or someone else at that position you will have a good indication on Reggie's future with the Raps.
4. Predict the Unknown- Bryan Colangelo is a sharp guy and will need to be that as he is likely going to have to anticipate what the new CBA is going to look like as he tries to reconstruct this team. A new NBA with no MLE and a Franchise Tag could make B.C's job a lot easier in terms of being able to lure free agents to come north of the border. While a lower cap would make the prospects of trading a Bargnani or a Calderon a much more difficult task. The one thing he does know is if he chooses to stay at number 5 in the draft there is a little extra money to play with. Only about 650,000 from 3.55 million to 2.9 million. Not a lot but still a difference.
5. Find A Center- I can only imagine how Bryan must watch the Dallas Mavericks and just shake his head in disgust. Tyson Chandler was almost a Raptor after all. It can not be under estimated how that trade that never was with the Bobcats impacted on B.C's plans for last year. The Raptors would have a much different outlook had that trade gone down. But it didn't and he is still stuck with Jose Calderon and still has no real center to play for him. It is essential the Raptors have a defensive minded center in the mix to play next season. Regardless of if Andrea Bargnani is back or not.
6. What You Do With A Problem Like Andrea? - Colangelo made it clear to anyone listening that he was not impressed with the effort of his former number 1 pick on the boards and on defence. He also made it clear he is not afraid to move him. Talk is talk but can he follow up the talk with action? There is no question that this fan base is more than ready to see Andrea go bye-bye. But is B.C truly ready and if he is can he find a team that is willing to roll the dice on Bargnani? The odds of finding that team might be better than finding a team willing to take Jose Calderon. What has been clear to almost everyone is that if the Raptors are to become better on defence, they can not start the season with Jose and Andrea in the starting five.
7. Find Some Gems In Free Agency- This is not a free agent class like last season. There may never be another like it ever. But next off-season will be pretty close. So this free agency is all about getting value if possible. The best name out there for the Raptors might be Nene and if Leandro Barbosa picks up his 7.2 million dollar option it might help the Raptors lure the fellow Brazilian to come to Toronto. If you say your biggest need is at Center then this is probably the best option available to you via free agency maybe altogether. You also have a former member of the organization in Denver should you look to construct a sign and trade. It is a long shot but if Bryan wants to make a splash landing Nene would do that.
8. A Defensive Minded Wing- Not sure how you get him but James Johnson alone is not enough the Raptors need a wing that can defend and do a solid job guarding some of the NBA best. I would venture to say that guy does not exist in the draft. Shane Battier is out there in free agency but will draw a ton of interest. So it would seem this would have to come via trade. But these type of players are rare and hard to find and you wonder what the Raptors would have to give up to land this type of player.
9. End The Euro Experiment- Bryan Colangelo tried to look to Europe to avoid the Raptors greatest problem of being able to keep or land stars from the U.S. It has been a failure by all accounts you would have to say. It was a good idea and was worth trying but clearly it has not worked out. The best basketball nation in the world playing at NBA rules is still the United States. Not to say never bring in a Non-North American but the whole idea of a united nations style team in Toronto has been a bust.
10. Defence First Point Guard- Another hard thing to find but something this team needs badly. The evolution of the point guard position in this league has made this a huge priority. Even in a weak draft class you are adding even more fast and athletic point guards to the league. If you don't have someone that can at least make it difficult for them to get into the paint you are in trouble on most nights in this league. Calderon and Bayless are far from capable of doing this. Raptors need someone that can be a better first line of defence.
Can Bryan accomplish all of this in one off-season? If he does he might just win back this fan base and be declared the saviour he was when he first came. But realistically this will be very hard to do especially in an off-season in which a labour stoppage is likely and a new CBA is certain at some point. But Bryan is a sharp guy and will be able to adapt quickly to whatever that new deal will be. That is the main reason you should be happy he is back even if you have not been thrilled with his performance to this point. Bottom line is Colangelo is going to be a very busy guy laying the foundation for his off-season before a lockout takes hold of the league.