The future of Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo will finally be decided, one way or the other, by the end of Toronto's long weekend, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Smith reports that the Raptors have until Monday to officially exercise or decline Colangelo's option for the 2013/14 season.
According to Smith, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and new president/CEO Tim Leiweke have hired a head-hunting firm to whittle down the list of possible replacements for Colangelo. Two names being mentioned as potential candidates at Chicago's draft combine this week are current Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard and Thunder assistant GM Troy Weaver.
Smith notes that neither Pritchard and Weaver qualify as the sort of big-name, high-profile executive Leiweke was expected to target, given the Phil Jackson rumors. However, it's possible, according to Smith, that Leiweke is simply doing due diligence, and will ultimately stick with Colangelo and the current basketball operations staff for another year.
Head coach Dwane Casey's future also figures to be tied to the Colangelo decision. Casey has one year remaining on his contract, and Colangelo has indicated that if he's back, Casey will be too. A new head of basketball operations may decide to bring in his own coach.
The Raptors are expected to pick up their 2013/14 option on GM Bryan Colangelo's contract, reports Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun, who hears the decision will be made official as early as Monday. It seemed likely when this past season ended that the Raptors would keep Colangelo and coach Dwane Casey, but that was before Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the team, hired Tim Leiweke as president and CEO. Leiweke has ties to Phil Jackson and seemed intent on trying to convince the Zen Master to take over the team's basketball operations, a move that would presumably bump Colangelo from the picture.
Colangelo has said that if he's back, Casey would be, too. News on the fate of both men's jobs appeared imminent after Colangelo was scheduled to meet with Raptors brass this past Tuesday. Zicarelli argues that the task of turning around the Raptors is immense, and no one could make it happen overnight. With the Chicago pre-draft camp set for this week, Zicarelli opines, it makes sense to keep the man who's been in charge rather than waste time while a new GM become acclimated to the job. The Raptors will probably discuss possible trades involving Andrea Bargnani with executives from other teams at this week's pre-draft camp, according to Zicarelli.
While Casey, whose contract is guaranteed for next season, appears safe, it seems likely there will be changes to his staff. The Raptors have asked the Celtics for permission to speak with assistant coach Tyronn Lue, while the fate of Johnny Davis, a longtime right-hand man for Casey, is uncertain.
It's been nearly three weeks since the Raptors played their last game of the 2012/13 season, but the futures of general manager Bryan Colangelo and head coach Dwane Casey are still up in the air. Both men figure to receive some clarity this week, however, as Colangelo is scheduled to meet tomorrow with the team's decision-makers, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (via Twitter).
Both Wolstat and Doug Smith of the Toronto Star note that the team has been silent over the last couple weeks, particularly in regard to Colangelo's and Casey's futures. However, Wolstat tweets that a decision is expected to come shortly after tomorrow's meeting, while Smith says it should happen at some point this week.
Casey has one more guaranteed year remaining on his contract, and the Raptors have a team option on Colangelo for '13/14. Although the belief at season's end was that both Colangelo and Casey would get one last chance to make the Raps a playoff team next season, MLSE's hiring of Tim Leiweke as president and CEO complicated matters. Leiweke has a strong relationship with Phil Jackson, which has led to reports that Toronto is pursuing Jackson with the intent of offering him control of the Raptors' basketball operations.
Colangelo has been the head of the Raptors' basketball ops since February of 2006, while Casey has coached the team to a 57-91 record over the course of his two seasons in Toronto. Colangelo stated after the season that if his '13/14 option was exercised by the Raps, Casey would return as the team's head coach.
Sources tell Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun that there has been "no appetite" among the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment board, which controls the Raptors, to replace either GM Bryan Colangelo or coach Dwane Casey. The team has appeared to have been leaning toward keeping both, and Colangelo said today that if the Raptors pick up his option for next season, Casey will be back as well.
The Raptors finished tied for ninth place in the Eastern Conference this year, at 34-48, and participated in the most significant in-season trade of 2012/13, acquiring Rudy Gay in a three-team deal that sent away Jose Calderon. The move leaves the team close to luxury-tax territory for next season, and Colangelo is reportedly likely to offer Gay, who's never been an All-Star, an extension to his five-year, $82.3MM contract. The team played .500 ball after the Gay trade, and benefitted down the stretch from the improved play of rookie center Jonas Valanciunas, who averaged 14.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in 31.6 minutes during April.
Toronto was without the injured Andrea Bargnani for much of the season, though Wolstat takes Colangelo to task for his continued trust in the Italian big man. Colangelo came on board in 2006, and made Bargnani the first overall pick in the draft that year, passing up power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, the No. 2 pick. Colangelo said today that a trade may be in the best interests of Bargnani and the Raptors, but sources tell Wolstat that Toronto would have to include an asset to entice teams to take on the final two years and $22.25MM on Bargnani's contract.
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey and GM Bryan Colangelo spoke to reporters in Toronto today, answering questions about the 2012/13 season and looking ahead to the offseason. Although neither Casey nor Colangelo are locks to remain in their current roles through the summer, it appears the Raps are leaning toward retaining both. Colangelo addressed a few topics of note today, and Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun rounded them up, via Twitter. Let's dive in....
Two teams have already made coaching changes today, as the Cavaliers parted ways with Byron Scott and the Sixers announced that Doug Collins won't be returning as head coach. There could be a few more spins on the coaching carousel before the day is done, so let's round up the latest....
Blazers owner Paul Allen spoke to reporters this evening about the offseason for his team, which begins tomorrow, and it seems one decision will have to be made fairly quickly. Jared Jeffries is under contract for the next two seasons, but neither is guaranteed. Next season would become guaranteed if he's not waived by the fifth day following Portland's final game this season, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports. Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com believes it's likely that Jeffries won't be back, judging by the 31-year-old's lack of playing time this season, so it appears the Blazers could be cutting him loose soon. Jeffries wants to remain in the NBA next season, however, and tells Haynes that he'll be looking for more playing time wherever he winds up.
As we wait to learn the fate of Jeffries and others as the offseason begins for nearly half the league, there's plenty more NBA news:
After a very productive year in China, Shavlik Randolph is playing some of the best ball of his NBA career for the Celtics, but as he tells Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, he's not about to take his current role for granted.
"I’m not the kind of player who can even think about relaxing," Randolph said. "I’m not really gifted enough or talented enough to relax and still go out there and perform. Some guys are, but I’m not. And, look, this can all change in any game. Washington played big (in Sunday’s win by the Celtics), so we needed size. Maybe that got me more time. But I’m going to be ready whatever my role is."
Here's more from around the Eastern Conference:
Despite the Knicks' early season success, one important question revolves around how Amare Stoudemire will integrate himself within the team's current chemistry once he is finally ready to return from injury. With that in mind, the answer to that question will have to be put on hold a little bit longer, as Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes that Stoudemire isn't quite ready to participate in games just yet. Coach Mike Woodson, who met with his forward earlier today, said that he'd like to see Amare go through more practice time and gave the impression that a return during the team's three-game road trip was unlikely. Here's the rest of what we've heard out of the Atlantic Division tonight:
The latest news and notes from around the Atlantic Division on Sunday afternoon: