Is Colangelo In Trouble?: The Toronto Raptors hired Bryan Colangelo to their team president in February of 2006, in the five years Colangelo has skippered the Raptors they have amassed a 176-207 record and made the playoffs just twice.
View Steve Kyler Archive Colangelo is a wildly charismatic person and a very nice guy to talk basketball with, but when push comes to shove a .459 record after five years is a tough sell in terms of merits for a contract extension, which puts Colangelo and his staff clearly on the hot seat.
In a wide ranging Q&A with Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, Colangelo says he hopes he and his staff will be allowed to finish what they have started.
"I certainly don't want to be accused of negotiating through the media, so I won't," explained Colangelo. "I just hope people realize how much I care for the organization I'm working for and the city I have chosen to live in. I will also add that despite our current record, the franchise is in a pretty favorable position. I do hope I'm here to complete the task."
Colangelo wouldn't buy into the idea that Toronto is doomed because of its location or situation.
"This franchise will be fine because it has an ownership committed to winning, a dedicated and passionate fan base and Toronto ranks as one of the elite cities in North America. Couple all of that with a shifting landscape where competitive parity remains a key objective and I think this franchise is poised, not poisoned."
Colangelo also praised head coach Jay Triano, who is also a great basketball guy, but has yet to produce a team that inspires its fan base.
"Jay has done a really solid job here given the difficult circumstances," said Colangelo. "We are clearly rebuilding and we have been decimated by injury, yet the young guys are clearly developing nicely and the atmosphere around the team has remained positive. The organization will likely address his contract status and whether to pick up his option year sometime after the season."
Colangelo understands he may be held accountable for declining interest in the Raptors at the Box Office, but realizes fans will support a winning team and its his job to put that kind of product on the floor.
"This is a great sports market with great fans that just want to see their teams win," acknowledged Colangelo. "Our fan base is our livelihood and yes they mean everything to us so we care very much about dwindling crowds."
"They deserve more and we intend to deliver more. Based on my interactions, I see and hear the frustration but I also think that people realize what is taking place here and that patience has to be part of the process. I also hear many of them say how much fun this team is to watch We have a plan that has been very clearly laid out ... develop our "core" talent, add a solid draft pick or two to the mix and utilize our financial flexibility to add an additional impact player where possible. The sooner we get back to winning games the sooner the stands will fill back up."
"I'm also not trying to paint a rosy picture," said Colangelo. "But a few less injuries and we are not as bad as our record currently shows or the prognosticators predicted."
The Toronto Raptors are sitting in 14th place in the East at 15-40. If the NBA Draft Lottery were held today the team is projected to see the fourth overall pick.
Historically the fourth pick has returned solid NBA talent with players like Wesley Johnson (2010), Tyreke Evans (2009), Russell Westbrook (2008), Mike Conley, Jr.(2007), Tyrus Thomas (2006), Chris Paul (2005), Shaun Livingston (2004) and Chris Bosh (2003).
The burning question is will Colangelo and his staff be the ones making the selection with that pick, and there is no clear indication he will be.
That's life on the NBA hot seat.
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