The National Basketball Association’s season is on hold, but that doesn’t mean the workload lessens for Raptors’ President and general manager Bryan Colangelo.
For the second time in the past 13 years, the NBA will have a shortened season after commissioner David Stern announced that the owners and players’ union were “very far apart on virtually all issues,” and that the first two weeks of the season would be cancelled.
With no end to the lockout in sight, everyone in the basketball world is trying make do with the situation. Players are frantically looking for places to play and stay in shape, owners are trying to ensure their capital remains high, and general managers, like Colangelo, look forward to the fragment of the future they might be able control.
“We have spent a lot of time going over team rosters, looking at free-agent lists, talking about the direction we want to go,” said Colangelo told reporters. “The good news is we’re a team that has a good young core of talent and we’re poised to react accordingly to the new rules and feel like there’s a bright future ahead for us.”
Toronto’s fifth-year executive has often referred to the team’s new mantra as “sustaining organic growth,” as if to personify the Raptors as a garden whose seeds have just been planted and would nurture with time and patience.
Colangelo decided to take the team in a new direction for this season, one that left former coach Jay Triano behind, as the Raptors’ president hired a more defensive minded coach in June with the hopes of molding his young team into an aggressive beast.
“The new coaching staff led by Dwane Casey [is] very excited to get to work with our young players and they’re really going to be instilling new thoughts and concepts with respects to defence,” Colangelo said. “That’s going to be something that fans would like to see out of this team, which has not always been the case.
“We’re going to be looking at a new approach.”
While the lockout has had negative effects on all 30 teams, Colangelo knows that if an agreement is reached between the players and owners, his team will have to get into the swing of things quickly.
“The new concepts, new philosophies, maybe a shortened training; that should take its toll, but obviously everyone’s dealing with the same circumstances,” Colangelo said. “The only difference here is we’re dealing with a new coaching staff in place.
“But those are the breaks of the game.”