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Questions and Answers with Bryan Colangelo

On February 28, 2006 the Toronto Raptors named NBA Executive of the Year Bryan Colangelo as team president and general manager. Colangelo served as general manager of the Phoenix Suns for 11 years, and team president for seven. The 40-year-old Colangelo was with the Phoenix organization for 15 years and now brings his wealth of experience north to help the Raptors take the next step toward an NBA Championship. Colangelo took some time out of his busy schedule this week to sit down with raptors.com and discuss his thoughts on coming to Toronto and the future of the Raptors.

raptors.com: What was it that attracted you to Toronto?

Bryan Colangelo: This is one of the best opportunities in the NBA. The team has a rising star in Chris Bosh and other good young players. We’re in a good position relative to the salary cap. We have a 1st and two 2nds (round draft picks) in this June’s draft. The ownership here is committed to doing what it takes to build a championship team. And I’ve enjoyed the city of Toronto when I’ve had a chance to come here in the past.

raptors.com: Why would you want to leave what appears to be a great situation in Phoenix to come to a rebuilding situation in Toronto?

Bryan Colangelo: I enjoyed my 15 years in Phoenix, and we had a lot of success there. I’m pleased to be leaving the Suns in a great position for the future. But the organization has undergone an ownership change and more changes will be coming.

I wasn’t eager to leave Phoenix, but there comes a time when moving on makes the best sense. When the opportunity came up in Toronto, I spoke with owner Robert Sarver and said I wanted to take a look at it. The more I look at what’s going on here in Toronto, the more excited I became to be a part of it.

raptors.com: What do you feel the Raptors need in order to take that next step?

Bryan Colangelo: The Raptors have a good plan already in place, and fans have seen the results of that plan since the first of December after their tough start. We need to accelerate the development of our young players, manage our assets effectively, and to acquire players to surround Chris Bosh with who will position us well for the future.

The team is progressing in the right direction. I intend to lead that process to the best of my ability.

raptors.com: What do you think of the job that Sam Mitchell has been doing?

Bryan Colangelo: I like Sam. It appears that he’s done a good job here. I look forward to getting to know him much better, and to being able to take a closer look at the job he’s been doing. I intend to give him every opportunity going forward to continue the work he’s begun.

raptors.com: Do you have any plans to bring in an assistant general manager or anyone else from the outside?

Bryan Colangelo: I’ll be evaluating the people we have here in Toronto, assessing our needs and then making any decisions that I feel are necessary to have the best staff possible in place.

raptors.com: How do you expect to utilize Wayne Embry?

Bryan Colangelo: I’ve known Wayne my whole life. He’s a tremendous person and obviously one of the legends of the NBA. I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with Wayne, and to tap into his expertise. I realize a person never stops learning, and I expect to learn a lot from Wayne Embry.

raptors.com: How does your family feel about moving from Phoenix to Toronto?

Bryan Colangelo: It’s always tough to leave home, but my family shares my excitement about coming to Toronto and Canada. We know this provides a unique and special opportunity for us and for our children.

Toronto is a beautiful city with a great international flavour to it. People here truly value a nice quality of life. I also know there’s lots of great restaurants here. We look forward to getting up here and establishing our home.

raptors.com: What will be your first order of business with the Raptors?

Bryan Colangelo: With about 20 games remaining in the regular season we’re going to take full advantage of that opportunity to evaluate our players and our staff. Of course preparation for the NBA draft is in high gear with the college season coming to a close in the next few weeks. We have a lot of work to do. I’m eager to get started.