Raps GM has work to do

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Bryan Colangelo plans to spend much of the summer shopping, but not for cushions for the den or curtains for the living room.

The Raptors general manager made it clear yesterday he would continue to search for ways to improve the personnel on his team, including the possibility of a trade, a free-agent signing, or acquiring a draft pick, which the Raptors don't have as of now.

"You're talking about limited resources. I don't have $10 million in cap space to go out and grab somebody," said Colangelo, who was named NBA executive of the year yesterday. "(But) we've got changes to make. We want to get the roster better and we want to compete in the East for years to come, (although) it's safe to say we're going to try to keep our core intact (forwards Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani and point guard T.J. Ford).

"We want to get more athletic (and) we want to get some more consistency out of the small forward position. We want to take that next step, because, needless to say, even something like winning this award is somewhat bittersweet given that we're not playing right now (in the playoffs)."

The Raptors will have at least one spot open on the roster with the likely departure of free agent-to-be Morris Peterson, whom the Raptors may deal in a sign-and-trade.

Colangelo also said Bargnani, who finished second in voting for rookie of the year, will likely play more at the centre position next year, possibly starting, which would push veteran Rasho Nesterovic to the bench.

"The key is ... that nobody relaxes," added the Raptors GM, who has now captured two executive of the year awards (he also won it in 2005 as the GM of the Phoenix Suns).

"As I said before, one way we're going to get better is from within. We have to all take this taste of success (making the playoffs for the first time since 2002) and not get comfortable with it. Let's savour it and find a way to make it even sweeter next year.

"There's a lot of work to do," Colangelo continued. "We find ourselves the division champions, but that's not good enough. Now we want to get to the point where we can advance in the playoffs and build upon this."

As for the head coaching situation, Colangelo said that discussions with Sam Mitchell and his agent Lonnie Cooper are "on-going" and he is hoping to have a head coach, preferably Mitchell, signed, sealed and delivered by the time the NBA pre-draft camp begins in Orlando in late May.

Mitchell's current contract expires on June 30 and Colangelo confirmed yesterday that one team (probably Indiana) has officially asked the Raptors for permission to talk to Mitchell. Colangelo turned them down. Mitchell can't talk to any other teams without permission from the Raptors until his deal expires.

"It's far too early in the process (to grant permission) and we're not at that point yet," said Colangelo, adding that he has begun talking numbers with Cooper.


Videos

Photos