Send in the MLSE clowns

Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo chats with Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of the board of Maple...

Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo chats with Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of the board of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment at a Leafs game in February 2006. Colangelo's contract expires in June.

RYAN WOSLTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:37 PM ET

TORONTO - Zany, dysfunctional Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is at it again.

Though Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo continues to twist in the wind with no word forthcoming on whether he will be extended or allowed to walk when his contract expires next month, it is Colangelo who will represent the team at Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery.

Colangelo confirmed as much in an e-mail to QMI Agency on Thursday.

Is that a sign that Colangelo’s future includes more years of service to the franchise?

Logic would suggest it is, since cutting a well-respected manager loose after letting him run the draft process — the way the Portland Trail Blazers did with former GM Kevin Pritchard last summer — would be callous and give the organization a black eye it doesn’t need.

But anything is possible with this bunch.

Earlier this week, the majority-owning Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan moved to up its stake in MLSE by buying out TD Capital Group’s shares. Colangelo has at least one enemy at TPP in Glen Silvestri, though Larry Tanenbaum, who owns the rest of MLSE, is a backer of the two-time executive of the year.

It is believed that a Colangelo extension is still the most likely outcome this summer, since Tanenbaum and other board members of influence strongly support him.

The fates of head coach Jay Triano and vice president and assistant general manager Maurizio Gherardini — with contracts also up in June — are less clear.

To his credit, Colangelo is handling this uneasy situation like a pro.

For now, he will put on a happy face on Tuesday — even as his bosses continue to apply clown makeup to theirs — and hope the Raptors, with the third-best odds of selecting first in June’s draft, move up as they did in 2006.

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


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