Colangelo: Trades/Bargnani and Future
Sam Amick, USA Today:
On Bargnani, how he's fitting in better now with Gay and the likelihood that he could be traded...
"We began this year with Bargnani as our No. 1 scoring option. He's now No. 3 because Rudy has arrived and DeMar (DeRozan) has emerged. Now Bargnani is No. 3. There's talk about possibly moving him – and again we've talked about it, not for talent reasons but because maybe sometimes a change of scenery is the best thing for somebody. But sometimes a change of scenery can happen just by redecorating the room.
"That has happened with our situation here, in that Bargnani goes out with an injury, we make a fairly significant trade, which changes – really – the complexion of the team in two ways. It takes a pass-first, controlled point guard in Jose (Calderon, who was traded from Toronto to Memphis to Detroit in the deal) out of the lineup, it thrusts Kyle (Lowry) back in – where we had intended to have him. And you bring in Rudy, who clearly is a No. 1 scoring option, and DeMar has emerged.
"All of a sudden the outlook and the presence of a guy like Andrea is entirely different now. He's not relied on as a No. 1 guy. He has never been paid like a No. 1 option, but people wanted to criticize that he couldn't handle that role. I've always felt like he's been slotted in salary-wise as a No. 2 or No. 3. Maybe he's kind of fitting in nicely now.
"If a trade doesn't occur before the deadline, or even this summer, maybe it's because we figured out that with the evolution of the team he is the right guy to be a part of this team. He's been through the hard part. This may be the easiest part ahead of him.
"I would say (the situation) is fluid. There may have been an outright cry (to trade him) externally, whether from the media or the bloggers, to make a deal. But internally, we've always said that we recognized that a change of scenery may be helpful for him and maybe beneficial for us. But we always recognized the talent, and I believe that – in some of the trade discussions I've had – the market recognizes the talent. And we didn't want to do something just to do it.
"If a deal presents itself that makes sense, we'll go ahead and move. I would say that, had he not injured himself early, it would've been much more likely that something would've happened. By virtue of him getting injured and returning with a handful games left prior to the trade deadline…there just may not have been enough runway prior to the deadline to get something.
"That's not to say all those conversations are completely done right now, and again I've had open dialogue with his agent and Andrea acknowledging that maybe it is the best thing to happen. I've said, 'There's no lock that this is going to happen, so we need to make the most of it in either case.' If he stays, he's got obviously a new outlook with the acquisition of Rudy – the changing landscape, if you will. Maybe we find out that it's the best thing for him and for us."
On Colangelo's future…
"There's been no discussion (about his future since the trade). I certainly haven't brought it up. I think that we're, right now, transitioning with an ownership change of our own. The deal was announced probably a year and a half ago and it just closed this past summer, in terms of the change from the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan to a new group that includes both Bell and Rogers owning 37 ˝ percent each, and Larry Tanenbaum increasing his stake to 25 percent. The constant there is Larry Tanenbaum, and he maintains his role as chairman of the board.
"This is somewhat of a getting-to-know-you scenario for everyone involved, myself included. And I would like to think that at the end of the day, they look at my track record and my history and say that I'm the right guy. Time will tell. I have been consistent about one thing: I will always do what's right for the organization. It has nothing to do with me. If there's an opportunity to improve this team, I will do so. There's obviously always a balance in my position between short-term results and long-term results, or short-term outlook and long-term outlook.
"I've proven that, despite all the things that have been happening with the rebuilding of this team simultaneous to the uncertainty with my contract, I always made the right long-term strategic decision with respect to the transactions that were being made or draft picks that were being made. Case in point was drafting (Jonas) Valanciunas (fifth overall in 2011) knowing that he was not going to be here for a year, and that when he did arrive that he'd be 20 and would still be considered a project. But you have to carry out your job with integrity and do the right thing for the organization. That's what I've been hired to do and that's what I'm doing. Whether or not that pays off for me long-term, with an extension or just even my option year being picked up (for the 2013-14 season), time will tell. But you can't lose sight of what the job is."