Raptors GM speaks

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:39 AM ET

The only way Raptors president/general manager Bryan Colangelo would have made any waves yesterday at the team's final media day was if he showed up wearing a red tutu.

Even then, unless Chris Bosh or Pat Quinn had an opinion on the tutu, nobody really would have cared.

Talk about stealing his thunder. By the time Colangelo arrived at the Raptors practice court, the Maple Leafs had just fired Quinn, and Bosh had proclaimed that he wanted to spend the next few years playing in Toronto.

Suddenly, Colangelo was an afterthought.

Still, there were a few stragglers who wondered what his plans were to turn the sad-sack Raptors into contenders. Or at least, into a team that some day -- hopefully before we all croak -- qualifies for the playoffs.

USUAL FLUFF

Colangelo offered up the usual fluff -- the team has to play better defence, there's a good core of guys to build around, the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. board of governors does really, sincerely, most definitely, want to win, etc, etc. But when it came to specifics, Colangelo offered scant insight.

In fact, most of his answers to the most important issues of the day were given in GM-speak, in need of translation.

On the status of coach Sam Mitchell, who will be in the final year of his contract next season.

"In effect, we have a basketball team to worry about first and foremost, and Sam is part of that process in terms of making this basketball team better. When it's appropriate, we'll address Sam's contract situation."

Translation: Mitchell will start next season as coach, but if the team doesn't improve significantly, he's gone.

On whether he desires to sign point guard Mike James this summer.

"I certainly hope we're in a position to re-sign him and we'll see if we can fit him into the plans with respect to where we're going and how we're going to get there. If there's a realistic approach on Mike's part, there's a realistic interest on our part."

Translation: If James doesn't ask for the moon, or $8 million US a season, they'd consider bringing him back.

On when Raptors fans can expect this team to make the playoffs.

"I'm not sure when I can predict we're going to make the playoffs, but every year that I'm here that we don't, I'll be disappointed. We need to find the right mix of talent, the right mix of leadership, to bring us to a playoff level."

Translation: Colangelo has no objections to the Raptors making the playoffs, but he isn't dumb enough to make any predictions on the record, which could come back to haunt him, as was the case last summer when his predecessor predicted that the team would win fewer games this season than last.

HELP FOR BOSH?

As for Bosh saying that he wants to spend his formidable years playing in Toronto, Colangelo offered up his obligatory gushing and salutations.

On what he has to do to make Bosh's life a little less miserable on the court.

"One area of weakness we can talk about pretty quickly is interior defence, interior presence, and that's something that will help Chris as a player. (In Phoenix) we wanted help for Amare Stoudemire, we ended up with Kurt Thomas."

Translation: Expect Colangelo to find some help in the frontcourt, via a trade, free agency, or the draft.

After that, everything's open to translation.


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