How does the old saying go? Bad things come in threes.
The big bosses at MLSE decided it was time to fire Toronto FC head coach Paul Mariner on Monday.
A day later, a change was made in the Maple Leafs hierarchy when general manager Brian Burke was removed from his GM chair and replaced by Dave Nonis.
So that leaves the Raptors. Should we expect to see the current bloodletting continue with Bryan Colangelo and/or Dwane Casey?
It certainly didn’t sound too likely at Tuesday’s press conference when MLSE head honcho Tom Anselmi was questioned on the subject.
“Obviously the team has got off to a rough start and is now heading in the right direction but we’re all being evaluated all the time,” he said. “Brian and his team are all in the midst of a building process and as long as we continue to see progress, you know that’s what you always want to see in a process.”
When pressed on the subject he certainly made it clear that a decision was not forthcoming in the next 24 hours.
“Bryan Colangelo is in the last year of his contract so we are going to have to make a decision at some point in the next couple of months and … we will,” he said.
Colangelo told the Toronto Star’s Cathal Kelly that he was made aware of Burke’s decision before it was announced although he spoke in his usual cool manner on his own job security.
“I’ve learned you can never operate out of fear,” Colangelo told the newspaper. “I am unaffected by this.”
Of course, there are a few Raptors fans who would feel a little differently and upon comparison, his record is not really much better than Burke’s.
As Nonis was available to replace Burke, there is also a ready-made candidate waiting in the wings to replace Colangelo in Ed Stefanski, whose last gig was in Philadelphia as the Sixers general manager.
But what has allowed him to survive and will allow him to continue to survive — at least for a little while longer — are his strong diplomatic skills in dealing with both the media and in working with his bosses.
The Raptors are also sitting in a pretty good situation as far as the schedule for the rest of the season.
Not only have they played more games on the road so far this season but they have also played a good portion of their Western Conference slate as well.
The West has proven to be the best for the umpteenth straight season and only 10 games remain on the slate.
The Raptors are not only better at home (9-7) than on the road (4-15) but they are also better verses Eastern Conference opponents (7-8) than Western (6-14).
The one caveat being the win over Philadelphia on Wednesday was their first within the Atlantic Division in six tries.
While the schedule has tilted more in the Raptors favour, the Star columnist still asked Colangelo how improvement by the team should be judged going forward but he remained cautious with his answer.
“A successful year would be making sure we take another step forward in the process of building a basketball team.”
While it would seem reasonable to think that Colangelo’s tenure would be coming to an end if this team fails to make a playoff run, a weaker schedule means he will likely be allowed to finish out the season at the least.
After that, all bets are off.