With the unexpected firing of Brian Burke on Wednesday, many Toronto sports fans find themselves asking if the other Bryan – as in Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo – is next on the chopping block.

After all, based on when the MLSE board removed Burke from his Leafs post (10 days before a shortened season is set to start), it’s pretty obvious that timing was never their thing at 40 Bay Street. For what it’s worth, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment COO Tom Anselmi has discussed Colangelo since the Burke firing, and the best example of that was probably his comments to CBC’s Metro Morning.

Anselmi told CBC that the Leafs and Raptors are “two teams that are in different points in their development cycle,” but he also mentioned that Colangelo is in the final year of his contract (only a team option remains for 2013-14), “so obviously we’re going to have to make a decision about the Raptors between now and the end of the year.”

Colangelo arrived in Toronto three-and-a-half years before Burke, but the Raptors also made the playoffs twice and won a division title in Colangelo’s first two full seasons at the helm, so the better comparison might be to look at each GM’s record since Burke took over the Leafs nearly two months into the 2008-09 season. The Leafs won 34 games that season and finished in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, 12 points back of the final playoff spot. Burke followed that season up by trading away draft picks for Phil Kessel in a risky move, to say the least. The Raptors won just 33 games in 2008-09 and Colangelo saw his Jermaine O’Neal experiment crash and burn before trading for Shawn Marion and then eventually following the season up by signing Hedo Turkoglu to a lucrative five-year contract worth over $50 million.

Here’s how each General Manager has fared since then.

Colangelo’s Raptors Burke’s Leafs
2009-10 40 wins, 9th place in East 30 wins, 15th in East, 29th overall
2010-11 22 wins, 14th in East, 28th overall 37 wins, 10th in East
2011-12 23 wins in 66 games, 11th in East 35 wins, 13th in East
2012-13 12-22 through 34 games at time of Burke firing  N/A Fired before season

What a proud tradition these two Toronto franchises have forged recently…

Looking at the results, the Leafs won more games between 2009 to 2012, while the Raptors finished slightly better in the standings. Other than the 2009-10 Raptors though, neither franchise has really sniffed a post-season race late into the season over the last four years, let alone actually made the playoffs in leagues where more than half the teams qualify.

So while Anselmi and co. might be encouraged by young Colangelo draft picks like DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross and even Ed Davis, given yesterday’s decision on Brian Burke, one would have to believe that Colangelo’s job is in peril if the Raptors can’t at the very least get themselves into legitimate playoff contention (The obvious worry here is that Colangelo does something like this to “win now,” especially with rumours circulating that Burke’s reluctance to trade young assets for Roberto Luongo played into his firing).

As I’ve said before, regardless of how weak the upcoming draft is, if the Raptors aren’t playing meaningful games in March and April and then don’t even have a draft pick to show for it, I can’t see Colangelo surviving another year in Toronto. And for those of you hoping for an exhaustive, big name GM search in the event that Colangelo ever was let go, I think the appointment of Dave Nonis to the lead job with the Leafs only reinforces the belief among Raptors fans that Ed Stefanski would take over.

For now, it sounds as though Colangelo has until the end of the season to prove he’s the right man to lead the Raptors into the future. But if he’s not, we might not find out until next October, you know, MLSE and all.

Comments (34)

  1. These two franchises are like apples and oranges. Raps have a brighter future than the Leafs, but time is about to run out on BC. If they do fire him, and next year Ross is firing 3′s like Ray Allen, and Ed Davis get even better to say a 16 ppg/10rpg player, JV goes up in size and starts to dominate the paint, then what? This was all built on BC’s work. On the flip side, it could go entirely the other way, and still be blamed on BC. The past peices that he tried to add didnt pan out as he was trying to surround Bosh with a core. But he was selecting the wrong cast. I think he wants to make the right moves, and on paper it usually sounds good. I am glad he got Lowry instead of Nash, but he WANTED Nash and that would have been another bad move @ that price. If he could have gotten Nash at a veterans minimum then amazing for developing the young core and for a front office job at the end of it all…..anyways…we’ll see what they do!

    • I agree. A lot of hate for BC around here, but then in the Rudy Gay discussion there was plenty of “don’t trade Ross, Davis, or JV” talk. Guess who drafted those guys?

      BC has put together some nice pieces since Bosh walked.

      His two primary failures are that:
      1.) His primary acquisitions (Turkoglu, J.O., Marion) to play alongside Bosh never panned out. On the other hand, almost all those moves were welcomed as sensible at the time and BC not only moved on from them quickly but got better value back than most of us expected. Lots of critics had labelled those guys as “untradeable.”
      2.) He overpays mid-level talent. I wish he wouldn’t, but at the same time he isn’t the only GM to do this.

      I don’t mind the direction this rebuild is heading, and would prefer BC to stay 2-4 more seasons to see what he can do with the guys he’s drafted. This franchise does not need more leadership turnover (TFC shout-out).

      • The overpaying for mid-level talent is also a Canadian thing. As much as we hate to admit it, I think most American players have trouble crossing the border unless it pays off. Think of the salary that they have to give up in taxes (if they do pay Canadian taxes…I’m not sure on that topic).

      • Don’t forget Kapono!

      • I agree. A lot of hate for BC around here, but then in the Rudy Gay discussion there was plenty of “don’t trade Ross, Davis, or JV” talk. Guess who drafted those guys?

        If you recall the circumstances of them draft nights, Davis and JV were obvious and correct choices. Drafting Ross however was arguable. In my opinion the right thing to do would have been to go with Drummond, even if he turns out to be a complete bust.
        Secondly, giving away Ross or JV in a Rudy Gay trade is plain stupid from the cap perspective, because a promising player on a full rookie contract is more valuable than an overpaid B level star.
        So there you go, the hypocritical behaviour of BC hatefuls is justified and has nothing to do with his brilliant scouting acumen.

    • If: the hypothetical question that should cost Colangelo his job; If only his draft picks worked out, if only he didn’t sign players to ridiculous contracts; if only he was a good GM.

    • Any GM in the league can sell a middling core of young players to their respective fan bases and while some pieces like Val, Davis and Ross might be more than just guys, that’s still not enough for me to overlook all the damage he’s done over his tenure (The blind loyalty towards Bargnani/Calderon sabotaging this franchise for nearly a decade, the colossal mishandling of Bosh’s final season, the countless free agent busts, etc.).

      The fact that he’s still trying to sell the idiots who eat out of his hand that this team is rebuilding as they play without a first round pick and start a 31-year old free agent to be at point guard is just depressing.

      • Yup.

        His trades and FA acquisitions and star player management have pretty much all been unmitigated disasters. This leaves as his drafting as a lone ‘bright spot’, but this is dimmed pretty badly by not just the drafting of AB, but by the constant and ridiculous belief that AB could take us to the promised land.

    • How does surrounding African American player in bosh sound like a good move. Bosh deserve english speaking players around him. Because he was the franchise players. Bc is a fool. Injuries play more in raptor wins than actual core players. Guys who don’t get to play are playing better than starters craptors
      Don’t seem too count effort a tallent. That is why we nerd a new gm so the effort isn’t wasted away on bench while soft players play 35 min a game, making it impossible to compete much less win.

  2. Who knows how much truth there is to it… but the current rumour is that Burke was fired was his reluctance to go after Luongo. Which to me, looks like a “win-now” type of move for the Leafs.

    As we know, Colangelo has no poblem trading young assets and picks for the opportunity to “win-now”. Sadly, MLSE and Colangelo may be on the same page as far as the plan, and hopping onto the mediocrity treadmill.

    I’m hoping that they aren’t, though.

    • You beat me to adding that point in the blog. It’s now mentioned around the same area I link to the reported Rudy Gay interest.

      • Getting gay is a dumb move that will hurt the team in the long run

        • There’s a big difference between “Getting gay” and “Getting Gay.” Just saying – sometimes punctuation still matters.

      • I’m calling you guys out for that BS; win now mentaliity? Both the Raps and the Leafs have been jokes for years, maybe they just suck and your idiots who believe sucking for multiple years will eventually pay-off. Me, I believe the only thing they do know how to do is suck.

        • What is BS about the win-now mentality? By “win-now” it simply means doing whatever it takes to make the playoffs, it doesn’t mean they would actually win anything.

          Like you said, both teams have been jokes for years, which is exactly why they’re trying to win now and gain some respectability with fans. Especially when there are jobs on the line, as we saw with Burke, and what could be Colangelo.

  3. Get us Cousins without dealing Val and all is forgiven Bryan , you ass clown.

    • JV must have beer flavored nipples or somethin, the man love for him is off the charts. Cousins is a potential super star and JV is a potential Joakim Noah.

      • Val has a way higher ceiling then Noah . In my personal opinion Val has potential to be the best center in the game. The kid has desire .

        • If Val played for another team would you know who he is? Exactly.

          • Actually yes, I would know exactly who he was and would probably tell others about how he’s exactly the type of young big man I wish the Raptors had drafted. He was highly touted as a future top-5 pick since he was 16 or 17 years old. You realize he wasn’t some out of nowhere guy the Raptors took a chance on, right? He was expected to go No. 4 in 2011, and the only reason he didn’t is because the Cavs didn’t want to draft a player that couldn’t play in the NBA for a year due to buyout reasons.

          • I think he has good upside but would you honestly not trade him for Demarcus Cousins. DC is an offensive powerhouse. JV will never have the bulk, or ball handling skills that he has.

          • Yes, I would obviously trade Val for Cousins Blart . Im just saying that Raps have enough movable parts that they shouldn’t have to touch Val . Not when you have the Italian stallion waiting in the wings.

          • Maybe hating on JV was not what I intended; I’m just still skeptical after the Raps last big Euro star. I believe he will good; but a lot of sports writers touted him as being Andrew Luck ready for the NBA if that even makes sense.

  4. From what I’ve seen in his tenure here, BC has a good ability to draft talent, and he’s showed some workable trading skills. However, he’s completely unable to effectively navigate the FA market and seemingly has no ability to put together a complete team roster. All of the Raptors teams he’s assembled, but for his first year (with Parker and Garbo), are disjointed, incomplete and ineffective.

    • I agree with the thrust of this. Colangelo is not bad at getting the first few pieces of the puzzle together, but completing the puzzle is something I don’t think he’ll ever figure out.
      Then again, you could probably level that criticism about many GMs in the NBA.

      His somewhat dismal record with the Raps clearly does not match the hype that surrounded him when he came here. I don’t think he is has been terrible, just underwhelming enough for a sustained period of time that I have simply grown tired of him.

    • Maybe he has a good ability to draft talent, however it would be more useful if the team had higher picks to draft better talent.

  5. I wouldnt mind ed stanfanski at all . He put a good sixers team together before coming to t.o with really young pieces . Nkw philly is a joke with trading for bynum . Ed has an eye for the game and eraned it . Where as bc has daddy to thank for running phoenix

  6. I say, compare! Compare BC to other GM’s in the league and tell me he doesn’t bkow what he’s doing, we’ve got a good GM guys! be carefull what you wish for, if he leaves we will have worst.

  7. Dark shark says broncos -9.5 on sat night.

    Dark shark also says fire colangelo. Trading Chris bosh was what should have happened. Dropped the ball there.

    Dark shark also says if you drink don’t drive, and if you drive don’t drink

  8. Toronto is the 4th biggest market in North America; yet all Toronto franchises suck. They have the support and the money so there is no reason for these franchises must blow year in, year out. Fire BC and bring in someone who actually has clue. Nothing that BC has done has worked; he certainly has gone past his tenure as GM and should have been fired long ago.

    • Toronto might very well be the 4th largest market in north america, but nba players dont view it as such and thats the problem. Out of all the pro sports, nba players have the biggest aversion to playing here. Partly because of cold weather and partially because of ignorance. I think thats why BC always settles for mediocre talents like fields because thats all he can convince to come here. Im not defending him but I remember bosh saying the same thing in terms of being unable to recruit players to come here.

  9. If this Briyani trade doesnt happen, they need to trade BC. yes the rudy gay trade is stupid, just like landry feilds contract, and why is micheal pietrus on the team, Aaron Gray ??

    Core should be Derozan, TR, ED, JV, Calderon and Kyle Lowry. Demar Derozan will get better and better. I can see him turning into VC, cept hopefully he doesnt leave.

    Just get rid of Primo pasta and sauce.

  10. + AA is also legit

  11. I don’t understand why there is so much hate on BC. I would like to see his contract extended. I don’t see any other GM signing big contracts and still able to move them around like BC does. Every team wants a superstar but you would have to try and tank the season, hope to get #1 pick and cross your fingers that the draft has one of those stars. Another reason why we might not get certain players we want because they’re not interested.

    BC has brought players that you watched when they played well against the Raptors so no fault in that. Either way, I would extended his contract.

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