Listening to Bryan Colangelo’s comments as part of the Raptors/Clippers broadcast on Sunday afternoon, it sounded like the Raptors’ President and General Manager might have been pointing the finger at head coach Dwane Casey.
After all, if the team’s 4-16 start (as of Colangelo’s comments on Sunday. Now, the team is 4-18) isn’t a talent issue, but has more to do with focus and attention to detail, wouldn’t you say that sounds like a coaching issue? There was also a random Colangelo comment about how he hoped Terrence Ross would have got more playing time in the pre-season.
Nonetheless, Colangelo shot down any thoughts of a coaching change while making the media rounds on Monday, and on Tuesday, Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY reported that Casey isn’t in danger of losing his job “at the moment.”
Citing “two people with knowledge of the Raptors’ thinking,” the report also states that “the more relevant question is how long it will be until Colangelo makes a roster move that helps his own situation.”
If Colangelo is being honest and the reports are true about Casey being safe for now, I’m actually happy about it. Don’t get me wrong, Dwane deserves his fair share of blame in this horrendous start and I haven’t exactly been pleased with what I’ll call disappointing coaching, but I also feel that he’s so much better than what he’s shown so far this season and can’t be used as the scapegoat after 22 games with an obviously flawed roster. As Colangelo himself said on TSN Radio last night, Casey has “earned the right to see this thing through.”
Having said that, there are reasonable limits to people’s patience – including ownership’s – and if this team loses another 10 games in a row or is sitting at 5-30 or something ridiculous along those lines later in the season, it will be hard to argue against a decision to let Casey go. In addition, as I’ve said recently, if a new general manager were to take over and decides to bring in his own hand picked coach over Casey after due process, I’d understand and wouldn’t argue with the decision.
But again, I just don’t feel that Bryan Colangelo should have the right to fire Casey when his own job should be on the line first. As Oliver has stressed, sports executives aren’t usually given enough leash to go through four coaches in six or seven years.
If Colangelo is indeed first in line on the chopping block (Casey is under contract for next season, whereas Colangelo reportedly only has a team option for 2013-14), then my question is how bad does it have to get for B.C. to be let go mid-season? I still think that he’ll be parted with in the off-season if the situation doesn’t drastically improve, but I’m sure that like Casey, there are certain limits on Colangelo. If this season continues to slide deeper and deeper into embarrassing depths, might we see Bryan suffer the same fate Rob Babcock suffered in the middle of the 2005-06 season?
Before this depressing road trip started, I said that the Raptors likely had to come out of it at least 6-16 to be in a somewhat manageable spot. I also mentioned that a winless trip and 4-18 record when they come back home would realistically eliminate any hope for the current season and would make the next 60 games more about playing for individual jobs, mainly Casey’s and Colangelo’s.
Well, we’re now at that point.
For what it’s worth, the same USA Today report reaffirms that Colangelo is dangling Andrea Bargnani as trade bait, and adds this interesting nugget: “Jose Calderon has made it clear that he would like to be traded, and Colangelo continues to explore the possibilities there as well,” before stating “A Raptors trade of some significance, more than likely, is on the horizon.”