Live Blog

Bryan Colangelo Press Conference Live Blog

Bryan Colangelo spoke about the team, his future and just what he plans to do this summer.

Will try to keep you posted…starts at 10AM, watch it here.

Colangelo’s thoughts:

Paraphrasing unless it’s in quotes:

“This is not the kind of season we wanted to have.” Had playoff aspirations which were derailed due to injury and lack of talent.

Changed the priorities of the season by focusing on the youth movement and attaining cap flexibility. The “reality called for us to rebuild the team and we embarked on a plan…nice to see things develop this year, I know it’s hard to digest losing so many games…have gotten all kinds of positive comments (from season seat holders) about the youth on this team”.

“This is the painful part of rebuilding, you lose a lot of games.” Says players have developed, states importance of top five pick, says “these players want to play in Toronto and that in itself is a victory”.

Lot of people doubted DeMar DeRozan at the end of last season, “If he now becomes the full package which would entail him becoming a three-point threat and becoming much better defensively, and [improving] rebounding, he’s got a chance to be a [very good player]”. Colangelo uses Kobe Bryant, Monta Ellis as comparisons to DeRozan’s potential.

Ed Davis “proved that he belongs…is a night and night double-double player in the NBA for years to come”.

“If you did the last two drafts, DeMar DeRozan is drafted much higher than #9 and Ed Davis is drafted much higher than #13…congratulations to scouting department…”

Credits Jerryd Bayless’ scoring, says he “answered the call” on the leadership front.

Says Amir Johnson “responded” to the critics who said he got “too much money”. Johnson will see “foot and ankle specialist in the states to get a second opinion”. “More than anything he learned how to stay on the floor…averaging 26 minutes in a game was a feat in itself for a player who had difficulty staying on the floor”.

“James Johnson added toughness…was a little bit of a wild card, added some spice and pepper to the lockerroom and personality as well”.

“The enigma of all enigmas” is Andrea Bargnani, “he has gotten better offensively, has proven to be a legitimate 20-point scorer in the game. Clearly, he has not done the things that we all like him to do, which is defending the ball and getting rebounds….He’s far from the perfect player and is a valuable asset to the organization”

BC was in New York to get a second-hand opinion on Barbosa’s wrist, is currently considered a “non-operative” injury.

“Linas Kleiza provided a lot of things we were looking from him… derailed his season…we anticipate that when healthy he’ll be a contributor to this team”. His recovery is progressing very nicely.

Question time:

What area are you looking to upgrade?

“We have good depth across the board….but clearly we want to address a few glaring needs. The biggest need in my opinion is that we have not paired a legitimate five next to Andrea Bargnani who is a four and has always been that, he’s versatile enough to play different positions”. “We need a bigger, better” big man who can play better defense because “Andrea Bargnani is not a good help defender…defending his rim is not his forte”. “That’s probably the biggest weakness [in the team]”.

Blogger summary: He’s basically saying that we need to make up for Bargnani’s weaknesses by getting other players in, specifically a true five.

“We need to address three-point shooting”. Kleiza and Bayless helped but that needs to be addressed, some of that will come “organically” from DeRozan, hopefully, but it needs to be addressed.

Lockout, no contract, how do you plan?

Says that possible sale of team will also impact his dealings. Is looking at possible free-agent signings, right now it’s “business as usual”. Says, “I want to be back, I’m committed to Toronto and the country of Canada, I’m committed to the organization in the highest way.”.

Are you committed to Jay?

“It’s safe to say that until my situation is unresolved, Jay’s situation will also remain unresolved…my situation will probably be resolved before Jay’s (deadline of some sort in mid-June).” Triano did what was asked of him. “To a man…everybody (the players) thought Jay Triano did a great job”. “[Triano] faired well based on early prognosis and if I’m not here, he deserves consideration for the head coach”. “My status is unchanged, it’s pointless to speculate where I’ll be”.

Not many fives in top three, considering trading the pick?

“We’re not married to the third pick, but trading away a third pick is not an easy proposition”. “I don’t think anybody on this team is untradeable…I think we need to take the best available talent and let the dust settle….talent equals other possibilities (referring to trades)”. Refers to the fact that there might be too much youth on the team. “Right now we’re stockpiling assets, stockpiling flexibility and stockpiling talent that will yield a better team next year”. “Lot of the guys listed [in the draft] as fours can play three”.

How much faith do you have in his potential to grow as a defensive player?

“What we have right now is a considerable asset for this organization.” He has been “mis-cast as a five because we don’t have anybody to man that position”. “Big guys take longer [to develop] than most…I don’t know if he’s ever going to be a better defensive player than he is right now….can he be a better rebounder? Absolutely, but he’s not [focused] on it….he’s not going to be a good rim-defender…anyway, you probably don’t want a guy like that jumping up and down at the risk of picking up injury.” “He is a matchup nightmare of every team we play night in and night out and I guarantee that he’s the #1 [target for defenses]”.

Are you getting a defensive five to overcome Bargnani’s deficiencies or would you get one anyway?

“Probably both….I had that guy last year in Tyson Chandler” “Lot of people want to make the Andrea situation about me and that’s nonsense”.

Says that the organization changed their mindset from trying to compete right now to rebuilding midway through the season.

“I didn’t make any assurances to any of the players in the exit-interviews because of the uncertainty surrounding the draft etc.”

“9.026 million dollars are left [on the Bosh trade exception] and we have till June to use it…but we are unlikely to use it because now it becomes chewing into cap flexibility”.

Blogger’s opinion: What?!?? So we traded Bosh for nothing?

Says Chris Bosh led him on that he would be open to re-signing with an open mind and never gave any indication that he was going to outright leave. Says Chris Bosh’s value was not high during his last season and a trade wouldn’t have yielded much.

“Jay Triano has a team-option for next year” (June deadline).

Colangelo is stressing that the Raptors have enough assets to make some noise this summer. No promises of making playoffs next season, but the focus is on building a contending team.

Given uncertainty with coach and GM, what can you really do?

The media is throwing him softies now. Nothing to report really, just asking him how tough it is to deal with uncertainty. Colangelo says “this is the life I’ve chosen”.

What struggles have you had attracting free-agents?

“If there’s a chance to play in one of the major markets in the States, like Chicago, LA, I don’t think we’ll ever win that….26 other teams face that concern”. Says you have to compare “apples to apples”. “Whether we can convince [players] that it gets as cold here as in 15 other NBA cities is a matter of perceptions…tax is not an issue“.

Colangelo is talking about the financial flexibility he’s created. Says acquiring players via trade is a known commodity and that you always overpay in the free-agent market.

“Last year was a mess because we had some issues in the locker-room, this year we didn’t have those issues”.

Why is the locker-room better?

“Character of the room is better…there might have been competing agendas that could have been surmountable…the Chris Bosh situation, the acquisition of Hedo, when things didn’t go right, they started to splinter”. This year “we had a group of guys who genuinely liked each other…sometimes we played as individuals (not as a team)…and at some point we didn’t have the talent and experience” to continue.

Talks about the competitiveness of the team and that the Raptors need to address the problem of “too much individual play”.

How optimistic about the fact that there will be basketball next year?

Won’t answer, cites Phil Jackson situation, and asks reporter to contact league office.

How do you sum up your time in Toronto?

“Maybe too much success too early…unfortunately we have not followed through where we started” Cites injury to Garbajosa, Bosh situation and how building around him failed, says, “I take my share of the blame”.

Are you deserving of a new contract?

“Can’t say on a W-L record” but based on dedication to organization, commitment to the team and the foundation he’s laid, yes. “I’m pretty comfortable knowing that I do a decent job at what I do…I’ve made some good draft picks, I’ve made some bad draft picks. I’ve made some good trades, I’ve made some bad trades….I’ll say that continuity in this business is very important…I feel like I’m capable of doing this job and am still pretty young at it.”

Says he’s got a meeting and will avoid the scrum process and will take a couple questions.

Did you say ‘no’ to a deal this season?

“Yes…at various points throughout the year I could’ve made a deal that could’ve put the team in a position to make the playoffs, but it would have been short-sighted…there were at least two deals that we could’ve made that would have put us in contention for the playoffs but it would’ve been short-sighted”.

Says no draft talk makes any sense until we know the players who will be in it. Does say that players appeared to be going back to school “for the right reason” (academically, not because of lockout)

Thanks for joining, that’s the end of that.

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