TORONTO - No one knows with any degree of certainty what the future holds for the Raptors.
We do know that Bryan Colangelo is as committed as ever to exploring every conceivable option that is available to improve the team.
We know that his contract for next season has been picked up by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd, but beyond that no one knows. If they are, no one is saying anything.
We know that Jay Triano will be back, but it’s not a given that his staff will have the same look.
We know that Andrea Bargnani isn’t going anywhere because a first overall pick, who was hand-picked by a GM doesn’t go anywhere unless an offer is simply too irresistible to pass up.
But other than the perceived obvious, nothing is known about the Raptors because so much is unknown.
One of the most interesting and intriguing off-seasons in the history of the Raptors officially began on Monday when Colangelo addressed the media.
He was equally parts enlightening and forthcoming, honest in his appraisal of a team that finished out of the playoffs for the second straight season, but evasive at times on issues that can’t be answered.
For a team that led the East and finished fifth overall in scoring, Colangelo admitted the team’s deficiency on defence must be addressed.
Only Minnesota and New York were more prone in surrendering points than the Raptors, a concern that will be addressed through personnel changes, modifications in how coaches motivate players and prepare for games.
In typical Colangelo fashion, he hinted that no stone will be left unturned and that every option will be explored and exhausted.
The biggest unknown in an off-season of unknowns is the fate of Chris Bosh.
Colangelo wouldn’t pin the burden of blame entirely on Bosh’s pending free agency, but he went to great lengths in trying to explain a team that flirted with homecourt advantage at the all-star break to a team that finished out of the playoffs.
We know that Bosh wasn’t the same when he came back from all-star weekend in his native Dallas. We know that an ankle injury slowed Bosh down for most of the post all-star break schedule and that a facial fracture ended Bosh’s season in Cleveland with five games remaining.
We know that he’s a free agent come
July 1 and that an extension was offered to Bosh and his people earlier this season by Colangelo, a deal that was rejected.
We know that Bosh stands to make $126 million US over a six-year term if he stays in Toronto or collect the same amount if a sign and trade makes sense for both parties.
There’s a chance Bosh can sign as a free agent and walk away from the Raptors, but he’ll be walking away from $30 million, which doesn’t make sense.
“It’s the biggest unknown,’’ Colangelo said of the Bosh issue.
In theory, the Raptors can talk to Bosh about an extension before July 1, but a deal is unlikely.
When asked what the Raptors can fetch in a sign and trade, Colangelo was as blunt as he has ever been.
“It’s an impossible question to answer,’’ he said. “I know what Chris Bosh’s value is in the market over the course of a year and a half, but....”
Then came the unknowns, not knowing if Bosh would want to take less term in a max deal from one of about nine teams with cap space to lure Bosh or if he’d be amenable to play for a team that’s above the cap but one that has pieces coveted by the Raptors.
“Chris is a big piece for us to determine what we do,’’ Colangelo said.
That much is certain, but what Colangelo does or is capable of doing isn’t so certain.
The Raptors hold the 13th pick in the June draft, a slot Colangelo figures will net a nice piece.
But even then, there’s no guarantee because Colangelo may want to use the pick and throw in an existing player to acquire an asset.
“It’s one of the unknowns in the next three months,’’ he said.