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Colangelo Committed To Change In Order To Keep Bosh

Colangelo News Conference: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
More Interviews: Triano Pt. 1 | Pt. 2 | Bosh Pt. 1 | Pt. 2 | Pt. 3 | Turkoglu | Jack | Calderon | Bargnani
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Jay Satur - raptors.com

April 19, 2010

Following another season with no playoffs in Toronto, Raptors President and GM Bryan Colangelo faces a daunting list of issues as he tries to get his team back on track.

In his season-ending news conference at ACC on Monday, Colangelo spoke about getting more out of Hedo Turkoglu, sorting out another unsettled point guard situation and remedying a porous defence. But it's the contract status of Chris Bosh that dominated the lengthy question and answer session and remains the top priority for Colangelo, who spoke at length about resigning the forward.

“It’s our biggest unknown in our situation right now, obviously his free agency,” said Colangelo. “I still embrace the notion and fully intend to talk about him staying a Raptor and talk about things that might happen with this team should he stay and talk about the possible success that we can have here and why Toronto’s the right place for Chris Bosh.”

Bosh had his turn in front of the media last Thursday and seemed open to a return to the only NBA team he's ever known, but he also hinted strongly about what he would like (more likely need) to see from the Raptors in order to commit long-term.

Namely, change to a roster that underachieved last season, spend into the luxury tax just like the league’s perennial contenders and try to add an impact guard the team has lacked since Vince Carter.

Given the nature of the Raptors' season, Colangelo is clearly looking at changes, Bosh or no Bosh. But would specific moves be made with the intention of making Toronto more appealing to the Dallas native?

“I guess part of that would be a situation that is enticing to Chris to kind of see where we’re going and how we’re going about our business, but we have to carry on as if we’re planning with and without Chris,” said Colangelo. “If it makes us a better basketball team and there’s solid basketball reasoning behind it, we’ll look to make a deal.”

Colangelo has an exclusive window of just over nine weeks to continue to consult with Bosh on his intentions and try to improve the roster before the forward opts out of the final year of tests the waters.

The GM’s options are limited between now and then, but still yield possibilities for improvement. The free agent route is obviously out, as are trades with teams remaining in the post-season. But in the short-term, that could mean deals with clubs on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, a pool of potential trade partners that’s only going to increase.

“Right now there are 14 teams that can discuss and make deals,” said Colangelo. “In two weeks, there will be 22 teams that can discuss and make deals. There’s plenty of time between now and the draft and now and free agency for things to shake out.”

With a projected late lottery pick also in tow (slated 13th), Colangelo feels Toronto could land a solid prospect to add to the mix, but also said he could deal the pick, perhaps with another asset, in order to receive more immediate help.

Based on Colangelo’s comments on Monday, that assistance could come at one of the guard spots.

“Clearly guard play is critical and the ability to create shots and the ability to distribute the ball and get a team into their offence and all those things that make good teams great,” said Colangelo. “Right now, do we have that player that can go out and score 20 points a game alongside a Chris Bosh from the guard position? Yes, but not with consistency.”

Colangelo went on to openly question if Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon can co-exist as a tandem at point guard going forward, but was less committal about changes at shooting guard, where he seems more patient with the young duo of Sonny Weems and DeMar DeRozan.

Then there’s the issue of spending. Colangelo reiterated Monday that he can approach the executive board of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Ltd., for approval to exceed the threshold that triggers the dollar-for-dollar luxury tax (set this season at $69.92 million). Given that the projected luxury tax level for 2010-11 is expected to decrease by roughly two million dollars, that may be all but a formality if Bosh returns, but Colangelo didn’t seem bound by any particular number.

“I’ve got scenarios where I can paint a picture we’ll be a three million dollar tax team, I’ve got scenarios where we’ll be a seven million dollar tax team, I’ve got scenarios where we’ll be higher than that,” he said. “But they’re all scenarios because they’re the unknowns of free agency and the offseason that have yet to be determined.”

The funds to build a winner are definitely a plus, but Colangelo’s challenge is now putting them to work under tight time lines if he hopes to keep his five-time All-Star.

He can’t control where Bosh ultimately decides to go, but the coming weeks offer him the opportunity to influence it substantially.