Three year deal – but with an option!

Either Colangelo’s honestly bought into whatever Triano’s trying to do or he’s financially constricted and forced into making this move. I find it odd that the great Colangelo has put his money on a coach that he didn’t even come close to considering two years ago when Mitchells’ contract had ended. Nor did he consider him after we got knocked out of the Magic series but now, after less than a season’s worth of coaching, Colangelo believes without a doubt that Triano is the man for the job. So what happened in this short amount of time that made the decision so easy for Colangelo?

Let’s see, the team didn’t play great under Triano and finished with a much worse percentage record than under Mitchell (.385 vs .471), the effort was questionable and we dropped games that even we were supposed to win. So what did Triano do to earn himself the job? The schedule became easier as the games became meaningless and the team finished 2009 strong – that was it. The team played loose and pressure-free, displayed an offensive cohesiveness that wasn’t there for the other part of the season and defensively the effort got better. That basically was it in a nutshell. This hiring is based on a 20 game run when nobody even cared to watch the team.

I’m being harsh though. Colangelo did say that Triano “never stopped coaching” even when the team was dropping games like Leo does names. He came into work, preached his mantle and kept on preaching whether anybody was listening or not. He believed in himself and his philosophy and still believes that if the team plays on his terms we’ll be fine. It’s a trait to be admired and respected, a coach must first buy what he himself is selling before taking it to the players and Triano does just that. Collapse the paint, move the ball, close-out shooters, buckle-down defense and hard cuts is what he preaches which is all very great and we all hope that the reason we didn’t see much of that this season is because of the lack of training camp and nothing more. I’m of the mind that the roster make-up has more to do with those things not happening than a training camp.

On a side note, I do remember the Raptors basically wasting their pre-season games last year and not showing any sort of improvement in them under Mitchell. So that part of the preparation can’t get any worse. Perhaps the upcoming training camp is when Triano will bring out the toughness in this team, a toughness that he feels can be taught and doesn’t necessarily have to be imported. Discipline and commitment is how Triano tends to weigh the intangible known has toughness. He believes he has it in him to make this bunch play tough by practicing hard, playing hard, not accepting losing and playing with a commitment to the team. Again, I feel he’s right in what he’s saying but the roster as is isn’t going to get tough no matter what the off-day schedule is like.

I’m desperately hoping that Colangelo is viewing Triano as a small part of the resurrection of this team, because expecting him to perform miracles with this roster just because he has a training camp and a summer is setting yourself up for disappointment. I don’t know if Colangelo is saying this just because its the politically correct thing to say, but he outlined how Triano has veto power when it comes to the hiring of the assistant coaches, one of whom by Triano’s own admission could be a veteran oldish NBA coach with experience. Positively thinking, if Iavaroni can bring the defense, and this new experienced assistant coach (let’s call him Father Time) brings in some nitty gritty offensive sets and other trickery, Triano could be left to just pull the strings and come out a winner.

But that’s the best case scenario, I just hope Father Time is Tex Winter type alcoholic with 80 years of experience and swears like a Somali pirate.

It’s a three year deal with the final year being a team option; it couldn’t be anything less unless you wanted the contract to be accompanied by a slap across the face. If he’d offer him a one or two year deal it would be a joke, may as well not offer anything. I can’t even remember an NBA coach being hired on that short of a term no matter how many coaches they’re already paying. We shouldn’t be too worried about the length of the contract, I highly doubt he got anything close to Lenny or Mitchell money so I can’t imagine it being too expensive to cut him off if need be. Triano even strikes me as being so loyal that if he were to be demoted to an assistant coach his second year he’d probably take it.

What message does this end to Bosh? Frankly, I could give a rats ass what message we’re sending to Bosh. He should be treated as a resource at this point and Colangelo, Triano and Maurizio “Four Toppings, Extra Cheese” Gherardini need to sit in a room and look at free agents, players on other teams, the draft, and then decide who to target, when to target and how to target them. Whatever you do, don’t bring in a player that isn’t right for the offensive style or will compound the defensive problems. Address the missing leadership and toughness through a trade, draft an athletic player and sign or trade for a scorer. Take a gamble on Bargnani, pair him with a scoring guard (Monta!) and see if he’s good enough to be the main man on a team. We did the same with Bosh when Vince left and he didn’t deliver, let’s see if Bargnani can.

Many (including me) would’ve preferred a more experienced coach which would come in with a proven record, a tested philosophy and some playoff series wins under his belt, but all that stuff costs money and we can’t possibly have 10M tied in a head coach over the next two years. Barring a major personnel shake-up I don’t think this team will be a major contender this year and having a high profile coach to lead a team that at best will make the second round seems like an awful waste of money. Better to face reality and say to yourself, Self, we got some pseudo-rebuilding to do and it starts with playing hard and being professional for 48 minutes a game. I think if that’s the goal, Triano can deliver. And cheaply too.

As Triano said:

We will be a lot different this year than we were last year.

Let’s hope so for both his and Colangelo’s sakes. There aren’t many GMs that stick around to hire three coaches and Colangleo’s already at two. He’s put his chips on Triano’s number just like he had done with Mitchell, all we can do is hope that he doesn’t repeat the mistake of providing the wrong type of personnel for a particular type of coach.

This is obviously great for Triano, if the head coaching thing doesn’t work out, he’s a respected enough assistant that another team will be quick to scoop him, much like Kevin O’Neil. If he does well, great, he’s an NBA lifer either way.

@raptorsrepublic

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