Colangelo willing to listen

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

Speak now or hold your breath, NBA general managers.

Raptors president/general manager Bryan Colangelo will accept calls today, but he won't be listening to offers for the first pick in the NBA draft tonight unless they contain specific elements.

As of yesterday, the Raptors were preparing to use the pick on one of two players -- probably Italian forward Andrea Bargnani or Texas forward LaMarcus Aldridge. There also is speculation perhaps Connecticut forward Rudy Gay, whose name was in the No. 1 pick rumour mill yesterday, might get a sniff.

For a team to acquire the first pick without sending theRaptors a pick in return, Colangelo needs an all-star coming his way.

Not going to happen.

For a pick-for-pick swap, Colangelo will demand a very good player in return.

So far, the proposals haven't tickled Colangelo's fancy.

"We're still wide open," Colangelo said.

"Having said that, I do want to re-iterate we're pretty much locked in to using that pick and intend to make that first selection."

Interestingly, Colangelo never mentioned Aldridge's name in a 20-minute news conference yesterday, but continued to mention Bargnani's frequently.

It's all part of the bluffing game.

The Chicago Bulls sent out signals they could be interested in Bargnani at No. 2 the past few days, but that seems unlikely and is perhaps a scare tactic to prevent Colangelo from trading down and taking the Italian. Chicago, it is believed, will take Aldridge or LSU forward Tyrus Thomas at No. 2.

"I want to be very clear that the speculation that we can move down and still get our guy is not a realistic approach to this," Colangelo said.

Colangelo also said he has expressed interest in acquiring another high pick, but he hasn't found an appropriate match.

Charlie Villanueva's name has been dangled in many trade rumours. The UConn product is hoping they are simply rumours.

"Charlie definitely would like to keep Toronto as his home for the next 15-20 years," Billy Ceisler, Villanueva's agent, said.

Meanwhile, it appears Spanish free-agent forward Jorge Garbajosa is on his way to becoming a Raptor. Garbajosa said yesterday he will play in the NBA next year.

"In the next few days, I will travel to Toronto to meet the club, get to know the city, speak to them and try to begin my adventure there," he said at a news conference yesterday.

NBA teams can start talking with free agents Saturday.

In other news, the Raptors announced they have hired Marc Eversley as director of basketball operations. The ex-Brampton high school student, who will work primarily in a business capacity for the Raptors, made his mark with NIKE the past 10 years.

Finally, the Raptors picked up contract options on Villanueva and Joey Graham yesterday. They are now signed with the team through 2007-08.


Videos

Photos

Canoe Top Headlines