Raps eye Treviso exec for assistant G.M.

MIKE KOREEN AND STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

Maurizio Gherardini, one of the most successful basketball executives in Europe, has emerged as one of the top candidates to become the Raptors' assistant general manager.

It is believed the Raptors have inquired about Gherardini, the long-time general manager of powerful Benetton Treviso of the Italian League.

Raptors president/general manager Bryan Colangelo declined comment when asked about specific candidates, opting to speak in generalities.

"There is a lot of speculation of what might happen with the assistant GM spot," Colangelo said. "When it comes time to make an announcement about a hire and when something becomes official, we'll certainly release that. But there is a lot of speculation and I don't want to fuel speculation by commenting on one candidate."

Gherardini makes sense for a number of reasons. Colangelo, who has Italian roots, is believed to crave an assistant with international ties and Gherardini fits the bill. Benetton has won four Italian titles and made four appearances in the European Final Four.

In his previous job as general manager of the Phoenix Suns, Colangelo hired Mike D'Antoni, a coach for Benetton on two occasions, as his coach.

This season, Raptors draft pick Uros Slokar, a forward, played for Benetton. So did top 2006 draft prospect Andrea Bargnani, whose name has been linked to the Raptors.

"(Gherardini) knows talent," Indiana Pacers general manager Larry Bird told USA Today.

Detroit Pistons director of player personnel Tony Ronzone and Portland Trail Blazers scout John Gabriel also have been mentioned as Raptors assistant GM candidates.


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