He tried to be diplomatic about it, but Raptors president/general manager Bryan Colangelo is clearly perturbed with the way the Charlotte Bobcats ended trade talks earlier this week.
Biting his tongue somewhat during a wide-ranging FAN 590 interview with Jack Armstrong and Eric Smith Thursday, Colangelo shed some light on the failed deal that was to send Jose Calderon and Reggie Evans to Charlotte in exchange for Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler.
“I think the safest answer is a deal’s not done until it’s done but I’m obviously a little disappointed that it didn’t go through,” Colangelo said.
“I felt like we were moving down that path, in fact further than just moving down the path, to the extent that, unfortunately, I had some communication with Jose’s agent that something was going to take place and it’s unfortunate that it happened that way.”
The complete details will likely never be revealed, but both Bobcats owner Michael Jordan and head coach Larry Brown have been fingered as the culprits for kiboshing the trade after an agreement was basically in place.
Colangelo is now moving on, with or without Calderon or Evans, two veterans he does not expect to have to placate too much.
Colangelo said he does not believe the Raptors are in a weak bargaining position now that Calderon clearly is on the block.
“We respect Jose as a player, he’s a very solid player, there is a lot of interest in him.”
For the first time in a long time, really, Colangelo outlined a plan for the franchise.
Building around Chris Bosh, obviously, is out, after the star big man defected to Miami and as this corner opined recently, that might not necessarily be the end of the world.
“We are looking at this picture now without the handcuffs of a $126-million US deal,” Colangelo said of the money that would have been earmarked to Bosh on a six-year extension.
“There was a question: ‘Is he that max guy,’ or ‘Does he need somebody next to him like a Kobe or a LeBron?’ ”
The Raptors no longer will have to answer that question, though it is by now apparent that no team can thrive with Bosh as its main guy.
Instead, the club will build around youth and athleticism while clearing up as much cap room down the line as possible. It will be flashy and exciting, if not necessarily successful in the win column right away.
DeMar DeRozan, 20, Sonny Weems, 24 and Ed Davis, 21, have been turning heads at the NBA’s summer league in Las Vegas this week.
Colangelo does not appear poised to spend the “rougly $11-13 million of flexibility under the (luxury) tax” unwisely. The team has no cap space to sign a player, but owns $14.5 million and $2.75 million (from the Leandro Barbosa for Hedo Turkoglu trade) trade exceptions.
“A year or two out we’re looking at significant cap space assuming we don’t do a lot to disrupt that,” Colangelo said.
“The board is willing to do whatever it takes to win but going into the tax has to be justifiable from both a business and basketball perspective. It would be a pretty hard thing to justify right now unless there was some unbelievable trade available to us.”
That is wise talk if Colangelo sticks to his guns. Struggling with an entertaining, young squad for a year, picking up a high lotto pick in the process and then using the trade exceptions once some expiring contracts are off the books seems like a realistic road back to respectability for the franchise.