When Bryan Colangelo became the GM of the Toronto Raptors back in 2006, I was elated. They finally had a creative leader in the front office that seemed to have all the qualities you look for to represent a franchise. He was eloquent, decisive, intelligent, friendly with the media, and wore suits that made me want to wear suits. He seemed to come into the city with a surge of momentum, and he carried it all the way to the 2007 Executive of the Year award in his first full season at the helm through a combination of savvy trades, unconventional signings and the daring selection of a European player first overall. And then, it kind of just went to shit. Slowly but surely, fans and the media stopped being star-struck by them fancy words n’ suits, and started looking at the direction he was taking the franchise. The bad moves started to outweigh the good, and the club was unable to recovery from a litany of body blows (Garbo hurt, Bosh gone, Roy Hibbert where art thou?). Always the consummate salesman, Colangelo effortlessly spun the story his way, until the list of failed franchise saviors became too much to overlook (oh wait…Val…).
So here we are, at a bit of a crossroads for the Raptors franchise, and Bryan & Co. are still making the decisions. Despite winning two Executive of the Year awards, there’s legitimate debate about whether or not Colangelo is a good GM, which makes the following all the more scary. Being in the final year of his deal, there is little doubt that Colangelo is attempting, to the best of his ability, to save his job, much like the rest of us would. The unfortunate part of Bryan attempting to save his job is that it will almost certainly mean doing whatever he can to ensure that the Toronto Raptors win as many games as possible next season, which in a very naïve way, would qualify as a success. This fixation on wins is detrimental to the Raptors because mortgaging the future for the present (the opposite of what I argued for yesterday) will undoubtedly harm the organization for untold years to come. I think we all know this to be true, we know he will do it (as in all honesty we would too), and we accept it.
One of the best arguments I heard against the Raptors pursuing young talent, other than those who simply disagreed, was that the Raptors would not pursue youth, because Bryan was in the last year of his deal and wouldn’t trade for talent that he might never get to use past this upcoming season. This simultaneously makes no sense and perfect sense, so something must be done to resolve the problem. I’m going to suggest some out of the box thinking -sarcasm- and propose that we extend Bryan Colangelo. Throw him a three year deal at a discounted rate with a club option on the third year. With the sword of Damocles no longer hanging over his head, and newfound support of ownership, Bryan will be able to return to his creative, suave roots and bring the Raptors back to something resembling the exciting young team they were in 2007.
Here’s another radical thought -again, sarcasm-, if you don’t think worthy of an extension, or couldn’t deliver if he received one, fire him. The limbo Bryan is being put in is unfair to him, to the players, and the fans. Decisive action needs to be taken, because this halfway in halfway out approach the Raptors seem to be taking with just about everything these days is getting a little old.
Extension or not, the Draft Party on June 28 at St. Louis near Yonge/College goes on!