Wednesday, April 20, 2011
If not Colangelo, Raps to draft in Embry?
By Marc Stein
Bryan Colangelo made it clear this week when he sat down with Toronto hoop scribes that A) he wants to keep running the Raptors and B) he doesn’t know if his current bosses plan to keep him in power much longer.
The matter is muddled by the fact that Colangelo’s bosses are planning to put majority control of the team up for sale ... which could actually wind up helping Colangelo if his staunchest supporter –- current Raptors governor Larry Tanenbaum –- is still part of the Raptors’ upper-management structure after the sale.
The working assumption in Canada is that Colangelo, with the draft just two months away, will be in charge of the Raptors' war room June 23 on draft night despite the fact that his contract expires June 30. There are likewise plenty of observers who believe Colangelo, given his experience dealing with changes to the league's economic system and his overall body of work in both Phoenix and Toronto, deserves at least one more season to run the point on Toronto's post-Chris Bosh rebuild.
Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com this week that the Raptors do have a backup plan if the current management -- at the urging of staunch anti-Colangelo board member Glen Silvestri -- decides it's best to make an immediate change. Or a change after June 30.
One possibility management is considering, sources said, is naming Raptors special advisor Wayne Embry as interim GM. In that scenario, Embry and longtime Raptors senior director of player personnel Jim Kelly would then either be asked to oversee Toronto's draft in Colangelo's place, or Embry would simply become interim GM as of July 1.
Embry, 74, has already served as interim GM for the Raps once before, taking temporary charge of the team's basketball operations in January 2006 from the ousted Rob Babcock -- even making two trades before the trade deadline that season -- before Colangelo was hired on Feb. 28, 2006.
If Silvestri is successful in blocking Colangelo's extension and the Raptors go the interim route, Embry and Kelly would be entrusted with deciding whom to select with Toronto's expected top-three pick ... or whether to trade it. But with a lockout looming July 1, most basketball business after that would soon be on hold anyway.
The Raptors also face a June 15 deadline to decide whether to pick up the last-year option on the contract of coach Jay Triano, who has generally been absolved of blame for Toronto's 22-60 record in the wake of Bosh's departure last summer and the Raps' decision strip the roster down and start over.
“We’re geared up for the future,” Colangelo told Toronto reporters this week. “The question is, is it going to take place?
"If I’m here, and I’m able to finish [the rebuilding job], that’s my preference. If I’m not here, I’m going to walk out of here with my head high knowing I did everything I could while I was here.”