Well Toronto fans are feeling pretty good right now and why not? The Raptors are rolling along and taking advantage of a more manageable schedule having won seven of their last eight. Last season Toronto won 18 games at home, with Sunday’s victory over the Kings, Toronto has already won 19 games at home. Toronto will shoot for their 20th home victory tomorrow night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
OK. So here come the questions about the playoffs, and while some might think Raptor fans are getting ahead of themselves, it’s a legitimate question. The team expects to make the playoffs and in hearing that, fans are looking at match-ups. I have my thoughts that you will get at a later date but right now, there really isn’t a good one. Toronto fans need to see how its’ team, as well as the big four in front of them, are playing as they head toward the mid-April.
The Raptors’ performance has put to rest much of the talk around trading Chris Bosh at the deadline. Unless there is a blockbuster on the backburner that is almost cooked, it sure looks like Bosh will be staying put. But there are other questions that are starting to pop up about Toronto’s future and they are centered on president and general manager Bryan Colangelo.
There have always been conspiracy theories that Colangelo would end up in New York at some point, once Donnie Walsh was tired of the circus revolving around the franchise. It was also rumoured that the ‘Commish’ had lobbied the ‘poobahs’ at the top of the pyramid in New York to oust Isiah Thomas and bring in Bryan’s dad, Jerry, to run the Knicks. It seemed like yet another telling sign that Bryan would eventually be running the Knicks. But it’s another team close by that now supposedly has Colangelo on its radar: The New Jersey Nets.
Hey, with the change in ownership and the Nets slated for a move to Brooklyn, Colagnelo would end up in the Big Apple, just not running the Knicks. Want more fodder, well how about the fact that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has not yet picked up the option on Colangelo’s contract for next season. You can bet that picking up the option would undoubtedly morph into a discussion about some type of multi-term extension but to date, nothing has happened.
So who is this new owner in Jersey? Oh, it just happens to be a rich Russian fellow named Mikhail Prokhorov. Hmmm, do you think he might be looking to make his mark and possibly seeking the help of someone that knows not only the NBA market but with the game being a more global one, a guy who is plugged in internationally as well? Yep you got it. There folks, is how Bryan Colangelo, and his assistant general manager Maurizio Gherardini are connected to New Jersey.
OK, let’s talk history here. So how did Colangelo end up in Toronto? That’s right, Robert Sarver, at the time the new owner in Phoenix was supposedly hemming and hawing in giving Colangelo a new deal in the Valley of the Sun and voila, Colangelo is suddenly running the Raptors. Others say Sarver never wanted Colangelo and Colangelo didn’t want to work for Sarver and believe what you want, but the bottom line is, Colangelo up and left. Colangelo has shown from the wheeling and dealing in Toronto that he is not afraid to make bold moves. So I ask you, do you think he would go to New York, er, New Jersey? It says here it could happen in a New York minute.
Is that unnerving for Toronto fans? Well it could be. Many have their opinions on the degree of success of the Colangelo era but if the Raptors make the playoffs, regardless of what happens in the first round, they have come from a 27-win outfit to a group that will have made the post-season in three of his four seasons at the helm.
So suddenly, the Chris Bosh transaction may be one of only two major moves that Toronto fans will be watching this summer if nothing is resolved before the season ends.
Thanks to a couple of readers for reminding me that I chose the Celtics over the Spurs at the start of the season. Well, at least a few people were reading and paying attention. Boston looks old and beat up right now and for them it’s about holding on to homecourt spot for the first round and getting healthy. It says here that Boston will still be a very tough out if they are healthy, more specifically Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The Spurs, well things aren’t going so well for them either as the acquisition of Richard Jefferson has not panned out, yet.
The Spurs are one of the disappointments on my list as we approach the all-star break. Things are falling apart around the Wizards in Washington. Philadelphia was expected to be in the race for a playoff spot and may yet be, but it has been a tough year in the City of Brotherly Love. On the other side of the coin, the biggest surprises have been out west, where the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies have exceeded expectations and are knocking on the post-season door.