Sam talks contract

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell hates being asked the question, but no matter where he goes, someone wants to know what he thinks about not having a contract for next season.

The Toronto media quizzed Mitchell about that fact months ago, but now he hears it when the Raptors go out of town, as was the case yesterday at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. after the team's morning shootaround

Mitchell especially hates the term 'lame duck' which is used for a coach who has no contract past the present season.

"First of all," he said yesterday. "I don't swim in water. I don't have webbed feet and I don't go 'quack, quack.'"

As usual, Mitchell waved aside suggestions that his players will lose respect for him because of his contract status. The theory is, players don't respond to a coach who might not be back the next season.

"I played in the league for 13 years," he said. "And never once did we sit in the locker room and discus the contract of our coach. Players either respect you or they don't, and having 'x' amount of years and dollars on your contract, does not give you any job security. If you lose the team, you lose the team. The only difference is, if you have years on your contract, you walk out of the door with 'x' amount of dollars.

"I'm telling you how I handle things," Mitchell added. "If other coaches feel like they have to have a 20-year contract in order to do their job, that's their business and that's how they feel. As far as I'm concerned, I have a contract."

As the Raptors have greatly improved over last season, there have been suggestions that Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo should offer his coach an extension. But Mitchell said that he would prefer not to have to worry about next season's contract (if there is one forthcoming), until the end of the year.

"Listen, I have enough on my plate coaching this basketball team," he said. "I don't need to be on the phone talking to an agent about something that really doesn't need to be addressed until after the season. I don't need that kind of a distraction."


Videos

Photos