Jay Triano

As first reported by Doug Smith on Twitter and confirmed shortly thereafter by Matt Devlin, Jay Triano will not return to coach the Toronto Raptors next season. He’ll be retained as a “special assistant” to President/GM Bryan Colangelo, whatever that means.

I’ve asked Holly MacKenzie to provide a longer take on this since she knows him personally and is more qualified than I am to write about this topic. This move is only surprising to me since I assume this team will probably stink next season whoever is coaching them so I’m not sure bringing in somebody new is going to make much of an immediate difference. On the other hand, if team management doesn’t see him as the man to lead this team into contention — an opinion I’m pretty sure most Raptors fans share — then I suppose it makes sense to bring in somebody who they believe is better suited to develop the young players. Regardless, Triano will remain with the team as its token Canadian basketball guy until he inevitably gets hired as an assistant coach on another NBA team.

I’ve never had a particularly strong opinion on Triano one way or another. As much as Raptors fans have liked to take shots at his coaching acumen, he seems to be well-respected by many of the top coaches in the sport. Perhaps he’s a really good “practice coach” who is decent with X’s and O’s but not really suited to be the general who leads his charges into battle. I suspect he’ll join Kevin O’Neill and Sam Mitchell as fired Raptors coaches who will probably never get another head coaching job in this league.

Triano’s “re-assignment” is sure to ignite a flurry of speculation about his replacement, but something tells me that this won’t even be a consideration among Raptors brass until the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is worked out. Call me a cynic, but I can’t see MLSE hiring a new head coach until they know for certain when there will actually be games to coach. I also wouldn’t be surprised if P.J. Carlesimo is promoted into the job on a sort-of-interim basis with the intent to bring in someone new for the 2012-13 season. Of course, this won’t stop Raptors fans from screaming, “HIRE RICK ADELMAN!” as if there’s any chance he’d want anything to do with this mess of a team at this stage of his career. I’d love MLSE to surprise me with a sexy replacement hiring, but I’m not holding my breath.

Comments (21)

  1. Phil Jackson is available….

  2. LOL can you imagine that!!! I’m with Scott regarding P.J. taking over the position until next year.

    As a long time Raptor fan It would be nice to see them hire a ‘good’ coach for this young team.

  3. I still think we should have hired Avery Johnson… also we definitely missed out on the D’antoinie

  4. Seemed like a nice guy and thought he was well suited as an assistant, but I didn’t like him at all as a head coach. Very poor job holding guys accountable and the defence went nowhere. That’s obviously part personnel but other coaches could have coaxed more out of these guys. At some point, BC had to do better than Mitchell and Triano.

    MLSE may have been sensitive about firing a Canadian, so that might explain the “special assistant” role, but BC also seemed to appreciate Jay’s work. Anyway, he obviously brings some strengths to the table given glowing reviews that Scott alludes to, but I’m pleasantly surprised at this news. PJ as an interim coach sounds pretty plausible. It’s been so long but that Sprewell chocking incident is still the first thing that pops into my head when I hear his name.

  5. Lawrence Frank is still out there if the organization wants to do a complete 180 and hire someone who can drastically improve the team’s defense.

  6. This of course was inevitable. The only thing that was in Triano’s favour was that many of the players were behind him, at least publicly. He is a very capable, intelligent basketball mind but should never have been a head coach. Its unfortunate Mike Brown was just taken off the market, speaking of a good defense coach.

    The Raptors and Colangelo may not have made the best decisions leading to Bosh’s exit, but there are many in the basketball world that are in the know that feel this team has done a good job of changing directions since the loss of Bosh and the disappointing year in 09/10. Certainly, there will be some good coaches interested in this position. I lament the ignorance of so many Canadians regarding basketball, this it seems includes Scott Carefoot. Maybe you should just write about hockey. . . or poker possibly.

  7. Nice surprise, I came here hoping for the James Johnson article.

    I wouldn’t be too stoked at a PJ interim gig… just because he spent all last year as an assistant and our defense was horrible… reminds me too much of hiring Jay after Sam Mitchell and thinking things would improve….

    as PBI mentioned, i’d go for the 180 degree turn to a guy like Lawrence Frank, or at least someone with a bit of a reputation.

  8. PBI: Lawrence Frank would be an excellent hire. I’d be 100 percent in favor of that.

    Jher: Don’t put words in my mouth. I never said a good coach wouldn’t come here. I specifically mentioned Adelman because he’s been mentioned frequently by Raptors fans and it’s my belief that guys like him and Jeff Van Gundy won’t take a new NBA coaching job where they knew they’d have to spend several years before there was even a chance they could contend. If I’m proven wrong, I’ll admit it.

  9. Rick Adelman would be my dream hire but he mat be unlikely. However what about Lawrence Frank or Keith Smart. Both underrated if you ask me and Keith Smart improved the Warriors by 10 games this year yet still got fired. We could go the college root…..if only Brad Stevens………..ha. Or what about Brian Shaw? He needs to get his start somewhere.

  10. Rick Adelman would be my dream hire but he may be unlikely. However what about Lawrence Frank or Keith Smart. Both underrated if you ask me and Keith Smart improved the Warriors by 10 games this year yet still got fired. We could go the college root…..if only Brad Stevens………..ha. Or what about Brian Shaw? He needs to get his start somewhere.

  11. Another masterful move by the master tactician Colangelo. Can’t wait to see what carnage he brings next.

  12. I get excited just thinking about Lawrence Frank!

  13. I think BC and JT are really on the same wavelength basketball-wise, which is why BC honestly wants him around. On the other hand, BC knew his coach could be better, so he’s getting a new one. It’ll be interesting to see if his more recent lean towards defensively capable personnel carries over into his coaching choice.

  14. Settons: that was an unnecessarily personal revelation.

  15. Mark me down as someone who is a Rick Adelman lover. I just read BC mention defense as a priority, but I think the most important thing is team cohesion, and who better to do that than Rick.

    Rick – 1

    Others – 0

  16. always had the nicest suits though

  17. Raps need a coach who will preach defense day in day out. In order to do this, they need players capable of playing defense, so moves need to be made in order for this team to turn it around. Trade away Bargni, Caldi, and whoevery can’t play D, and get some good defenders….Derozan and hopefully another player who can score from the Bargni trade will do the scoring….Then get a good point guard(Draft?) and move bayless to SG…..he is a scorer, not a passer…so get somebody who can get the assists to D-rozan….Then get a coach who can preach defense first…i like lawrence frank…

  18. If Frank get’s the nod maybe he can intice Chandler to sign via free agency.

  19. the quote in the media from BC already dismisses the idea of PJ as the coach.

    this team will be terrible next year. terrible. this is a change that needed to happen a year ago. not to mention, all the other teams looking for coaches have already been in the process for weeks; once more MLSE and BC are late to the party.

    as much as it makes me want to puke, this franchise has given me no choice but to watch soccer.

  20. Apparently only Scott was listening- thanks. I guess that really is the problem here. I will speak plainly than: The Raptors have a lot of very good pieces to build upon and will be competitive and improved next year, regardless of who coaches; although the playoffs is likely out of reach.

    Regarding coaches, Aldeman is a great coach but not the one for this team. Aldeman is a veteran coach who wants to step into a winning program not build one. We don’t want him anymore than he does not want us. Keith Smart is not a good head coach, period. Lawrence Frank could be a good fit.

  21. The Raptors have gone down hill since the departure of Sam Mitchell. Even Triano could have called appropriate time-outs when we were on a downslide or lost momentum. But would he? Nope! He has to wait till we’re in an unrecoverable position down 35 points with 10 minutes left and no momentum, to call a time out (which at that point was mute). I am sooo glad the Raptors came to their senses. I’m a proud Canadian watching the Raps for over a decade loyally, but these last few years have been disheartening and with no disrespect to Jay, but WINS rules the day, not your nationality. Bottom line, he was given the opportunity and couldn’t handle it. I’ve loved the Raps forever and we’ve never really been contenders. But under Triano, games against the Raptors were considered a given by other teams, and if we managed a win you could never be sure if it was because we overwhelmed them, or they just had a poor night. I don’t mind losing as long as we scratch the other team’s eyes out. But going out without so much as a whimper, disturbs me.

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