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Toronto Raptors Sonny Weems and Ed Davis guard Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto. (MARK BLINCH/Reuters)
Toronto Raptors Sonny Weems and Ed Davis guard Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto. (MARK BLINCH/Reuters)

Toronto Raptors

Colangelo's future, like Raptors: uncertain Add to ...

The way MLSE protects it's privacy has always baffled me. I appreciate it's a privately held business, but it's not like other privately held businesses. It exists only to profit from the passions of its customers, who are typically unfailingly loyal and generous, and as a rule want to know as much as possible about the company's teams and employees.

And yet simple things - like is there a board meeting today to determine the future of Toronto Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo or not? - are held like state secrets.

Regardless, information does seep out.

There is a MLSE board meeting today and high on the agenda is the future of Colangelo.

"It's an important issue," said one source. "It's front and centre, but the time lines are fluid, it doesn't have to be decided today or next week or next month."

But what will happen or is happening isn't so clear. There may be no fixed deadline in place, but there is an urgency to decide what MLSE will do regarding it's lead basketball executive as club tries to rebuild. Colangelo remains under contract until June 30th.

Meanwhile, as Hayley Mick reports, Colangelo and his staff are scouring Europe and the United States to take advantage of the draft picks they may or may not get to use in June while deciding on how aggressive they want to be at the trade deadline later this month - do you nibble around the edges and move expiring contracts like Reggie Evans'? Or do you jump in at the deep and go for a complete makeover and test the market for the likes of Andrea Bargnani:

If his contract is renewed, Colangelo will quickly have opportunity to breathe new life into his reputation as a master manager. The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 24, and though the Raptors (15-24) have the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference, they do possess relatively young talent that could entice playoff contenders - including a few names that, at the beginning of the season, would never have been uttered in the same sentence as the word "trade."

As much as trading Andrea Bargnani seems extremely unlikely considering Colangelo's commitment to his 2006 No. 1 overall draft pick, would the world implode if the exceptionally talented but maddeningly unreliable Italian went elsewhere?

Trading fan favourites has worked for teams in the past, whether for personality or financial reasons. Chris Wallace, general manager of the Memphis Grizzlies, traded his best player, Pau Gasol, to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008, horrifying observers who said he killed his own team and certified the Lakers' dynasty in one fell swoop.

"I lose no sleep over that one," Wallace said in an interview. "[Gasol]is the NBA equivalent of an organ donor, in that the deal opened up so many possibilities for us in that we were able to restock our roster and get our financial situation in order. A significant number of players on our team were obtained either directly through that trade or down the road from the cap room that was generated."

For nearly five years Colangelo has been the brains behind the Raptors operation, with mixed results. Before the franchise decides on what kind of surgery is next the first step is for the board - which really only has two significant voices in the form of chairman and minority owner Larry Tanenbaum and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan - to come to a consensus on if they want to make an offer to renew Colangelo's contract and according to what terms.

Which way may that discussion go? "The issue has to be wrestled to the ground," says one source. "But right now it could go either way."







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