We’ve been waiting for what we thought was imminent news on the job status of Bryan Colangelo for a couple of weeks now, and on Friday afternoon, some finally trickled through.
First, citing multiple NBA sources, Doug Smith reported in the Toronto Star that Tim Leiweke and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment have “hired a head-hunting firm to whittle down a list of possible replacements” for Colangelo.
In addition, Smith reports that the Raptors have until Monday to decide whether or not to pick up the 2013-14 option year on Colangelo’s contract.
Later on Friday, Michael Grange confirmed the news…
As per @smithraps I can confirm MLSE has engaged search firm for GM hunt and has until Monday to pick up option on Colangelo’s option
— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) May 17, 2013
So there you have it. Whether it’s a deadline date that was already in the contract, a drop dead date that Leiweke came up with or Colangelo has asked for, or one that both parties have agreed to, Bryan’s fate will be decided by Monday one way or another.
I’ve held firm that Colangelo’s failures (a five-year playoff drought without cap space or a 2013 lottery pick to show for it) simply would have made it ridiculous to extend him, but I did think that from a stability standpoint and the fact that an incoming GM would have his hands tied by the current salary cap situation, Bryan’s option would be picked up and 2013-14 would serve as a make or break year for he and Dwane Casey.
Then, if Leiweke and the board wanted to go in another direction at this time next year, the next general manager would have a little more flexibility in initiating change. With these latest developments, however, it’s hard to imagine Colangelo being back for another stab in the dark.
I suppose it’s possible that MLSE concludes Colangelo is still the best option after conducting a search, but it seems unlikely, doesn’t it? Between the initial Phil Jackson rumours, the length of time it has taken for Leiweke to make a decision on Colangelo and the fact that MLSE is apparently already looking for a possible replacement, Bryan’s time in Toronto appears to be reaching its end.
Many Raptors fans will likely be encouraged by the potential change in direction, and that’s fair, but a word of caution I’d give you is that there’s no guarantee a Colangelo replacement would like/keep the same current Raptors you like or that he would look to move the current Raptors you assume anybody other than B.C. would move. In addition, while I do have a significant amount of blind faith in Tim Leiweke, this is still the Raptors we’re talking about, so until something actually does happen, don’t just assume it will.
For now, we wait…again.
I’ll be around to write about and react to any breaking Colangelo news over the next few days. Until then, enjoy the long weekend.
UPDATE: One thing I failed to mention above is that Smith wrote in his report that “Two names being tossed around NBA circles” are Kevin Pritchard and Troy Weaver.
Pritchard is the current General Manager of the Pacers (since last June) and served as Trail Blazers GM from 2007 until 2010, while Weaver is the current Vice President and Assistant GM of the Thunder, where he has worked under Sam Presti for five years.
We’re still too early in the process to know enough (and really, we don’t even know that Colangelo is finished yet), but at first glance, if those were the two names out there, I’d prefer Weaver. I’m not knocking Pritchard, saying that the Raptors have to hire a first time GM or saying that they should hire a younger guy, but I do think this perceived need for a “proven” NBA executive is wildly exaggerated. Do Masai Ujiri, Sam Presti or Daryl Morey look lost to you in their first full fledged GM jobs?
Exactly. It’s time to think outside of the box. I’d rather the Raptors try to find a forward thinking member of another team’s management staff than the average, recycled, run of the mill NBA GM.