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Join Date: May 2008
Location: YO MAMMA
Hoops world: Colangelo interview
The Toronto Raptors have had a big summer, with GM Bryan Colangelo busily working to make sure Chris Bosh understands just how committed he is to winning which means putting the best possible team in place around their All-Star anchor. Colangelo wasted no time, securing the biggest name free agent of the summer in Hedo Turkoglu. Fresh off an NBA Finals appearance with the Orlando Magic, Turkoglu vastly increased his market value with his superb play in the 2009 playoffs.
"Hedo is big piece for us as he is capable of contributing in so many ways," Colangelo tells HOOPSWORLD. "The guy is a very smart player and he has a certain moxy that we have lacked. He not only was a big reason (the Magic) got there, but he was arguably was the best player on the floor for the Magic during the finals."
Colangelo and his staff also wanted to add a veteran presence in the front court to not only back up Andrea Bargnani, but also to help Patrick O'Bryant develop. For that they turned to Indiana Pacers free agent and former Raptor Rasho Nesterovic. Nesterovic, who fell in love with Toronto during his first stint with the team, brings championship experience from his time in San Antonio and a level of professionalism the Raptors value.
"Rasho gives us a veteran presence not only at the 5 position but also in the locker room," explains Colangelo. "He's the consummate professional and his teams always seem to succeed."
Ironically, Nesterovic isn't the only former Pacer joining the Raptors this season, as free agent point guard Jarrett Jack is also making the move from Indy. Jack has been a coveted member of both the Portland Trail Blazers and the Pacers, and brings a great deal to the table for Toronto.
"We obviously needed help at the point position so we went out and got what we felt was the perfect compliment to our team. His toughness and his ability to defend on the perimeter is certainly something we were looking for. Jarrett is not a flashy player but he just always seems to get it done. He can play two positions and he provides the ultimate insurance if Jose were to miss games."
The other big addition to the team this summer is first round draft pick DeMar DeRozan. Considered by some to be the best shooting guard in the draft class, DeRozan could be the starter for the Raptors on opening day.
"With DeMar, it's too early to tell," Colangelo admits. "What (head coach) Jay (Triano) and I have talked about is finding him minutes, possibly even starting, so he develops more quickly than he would otherwise. There's nothing like experience in this business. If he takes advantage of those minutes and earns more playing time than he will have gotten off to a great start to his career."
Finally, this will be the team's first full season under Triano, who has had the "interim" removed from his title as head coach of the team. Over the summer he added former Memphis Grizzlies head coach and Phoenix Suns assistant (under Mike D'Antoni) Marc Iavaroni, giving the team a solid coaching staff for the new season. The way the Raptors came together under Triano late last season made him the easy choice going forward, despite some grumblings in the media that he might not be the ideal choice.
"Not sure who was 'talking' but Jay was always considered the front runner for the job from my perspective," says Colangelo. "He's a bright young coach and he clearly had the right approach to the position that I was looking for. The addition of Marc Iavaroni as an assistant has also elevated the overall experience factor of the staff and brings a quality big man and defensive-minded coach. The chemistry and work ethic of the staff also seems to be the best I've seen in years."
As for the big question, whether or not Chris Bosh signs with the Raptors long-term next summer, much will depend on how well the team performs this season. Bosh recently told The Fan 990 in Toronto that he, like Colangelo, is optimistic about the coming season.
"It's just all about seeing where the team is going and having something to play for. I want to win a championship one day, plain and simple. And I want to be in a place that makes me happy, that makes the most sense for me, and so far Toronto's been that place. We have had tough years and everything but I think this year management's showing that we're not just waiting around. I said this in an interview before but we're not just waiting around for 2010, and we're not just trying to put our eggs in one basket and just stack our chips and be like, 'All right, we're gonna roll the dice this summer and hopefully something will happen,' because that's kind of two years lost. I like the fact that we've revamped our team, we've addressed some weaknesses that we've had, and I'm really looking forward to this year, but I think this year does play a key role in my decision next summer."
As things stand, the Raptors look like a team that could be competing for home court advantage in the Eastern Conference playoff picture this season, and that would no doubt go a long way towards ensuring Bosh's future as a Raptor. The front office has certainly done their job this summer, now the team has to go out and realize their considerable potential.
HOOPSWORLD would like to thank Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo for generously taking the time to share his vision for the team.
Mavs Make Moves, Thomas Injured
As expected, the Dallas Mavericks signed James Singleton last night, also buying out Greg Buckner in the process. They'd been working to find a trade for Buckner, but finally just settled for taking the cap savings that his contract represented for themselves. Meanwhile, the team is reportedly trying to move Shawne Williams and Nathan Jawaii, neither of whom played much last season. Williams was missing from the team for the bulk of last season due to "personal reasons," and Jawaii was injured for much of the season as a member of the Toronto Raptors. The Mavericks would like to move them to clear roster spots, though in each case a trade seems unlikely, as neither player would seem to represent a solution for a prospective buyer. Dallas would almost certainly have to package them with a significant player to move them, and that seems highly unlikely.