PHILADELPHIA — Four games, one practice and six days before the Raptors put to rest their season.
For Jay Triano and his coaching staff, the countdown begins in earnest with no clarity on the horizon.
“We talked about it the other day and the conversation was that it’s out of our control,’’ Triano said as he discussed the future prior to Friday’s tip against the host 76ers. “The number one thing is to keep doing what we’ve been doing, keep preparing these guys and don’t ever stop doing your job.
“It’s the same thing we say to the players.”
There’s uncertainty concerning Triano’s future, there’s uncertainty about GM Bryan Colangelo’s future, uncertainty about the potential for an ownership change and the near certainty that a league-imposed lockout will be initiated on July 1 in the absence of a negotiated deal with the NBA’s players’ union.
Whether it’s Colangelo or any of Triano’s assistants, no one has been associated with the Raptors longer than Triano, whose eighth season may prove to be his final.
“Once the season is over, I can start thinking about that,’’ Triano said when asked about his status with the team. “Right now the focus is on every single game.
“The focus is on trying to get our guys better and we’ve done that since day one. It’ll be pretty selfish if you start thinking (about his own situation) before the season ends.”
Once the season does end following next Wednesday’s visit by the Miami Heat, the speculation will only intensify, the questions a daily reminder of what may or may not await.
“You can’t worry about stuff that’s out of your control,’’ Triano added.
At times when he’s not getting hourly updates on some injured player, going over a scouting report or figuring out who to play backup point guard, some reflection must be given to all the unknowns that swirl.
“If you sit back and think about it, yes,’’ Triano continued. “But there’s no time to do that.
“Once we walk out on the floor, our minds aren’t anywhere else other than being with our team. When we meet as coaches, we discuss it (uncertainty) for 30 seconds and then it’s about strategy, making guys better, who’s going to be available, with the guys we have what’s their biggest strength and weakness.
“Our days our full enough figuring out ways to win games and dealing with injuries.”
For Friday’s game against Philly, Jose Calderon (hamstring) and Andrea Bargnani (ankle) weren’t available and in fact did not travel with the team.
At the team’s morning shootaround, Leandro Barbosa said he was a no-go, the victim of a damaged finger that left the Raptors with no backup for starting point guard Jerryd Bayless, while Amir Johnson continues to nurse a tender ankle.
“One thing going into the season was about our younger guys,’’ Triano said. “We wanted to get them better or find out whether they can be good enough players to be on a team that’s going to be successful in the future.”
Johnson has evolved, rookie Ed Davis, whose off-season knee injury kept him out of training camp and the pre-season, has excited many, DeMar DeRozan has improved dramatically and Bayless continues to make strides as he learns how to run an offence.
“All this stuff is going to help them, but also help the franchise as it moves forward,’’ said Triano.
It remains to be seen if the improvement will help Triano’s cause.