Bryan's back, Triano should be too

Raptors coach Jay Triano (left) and general manager Bryan Colangelo confer following a team...

Raptors coach Jay Triano (left) and general manager Bryan Colangelo confer following a team practice at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ont. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:32 PM ET

SECAUCUS, N.J. - There was an extra jump in Bryan Colangelo’s step even before he stepped into the NBA’s entertainment studio, a glint in the eye that revealed both relief and excitement.

Finally, following weeks of uncertainty, there was the certainty of returning to a job only Colangelo can properly finish.

Well before the league’s draft lottery, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment announced that it had extended Colangelo’s contract, a deal that was set to expire on June 30.

Whether the deal is for three years rather than the five-year deal Colangelo first signed with the Raptors when he was lured to Toronto from Phoenix, he’ll have enough time to continue his rebuild of a team that missed the post-season for three years in a row.

“Over the past few months Bryan has worked on a winning plan for the Raptors,” Richard Peddie, president and CEO of MLSE, said in a statement. “I’m happy to report that he has everyone’s 100% support of his plan and we look forward to seeing its success on the court.”

Colangelo plans to sit down with head coach Jay Triano, one of many issues Colangelo must address and resolve.

At least now he knows he can go forward without the burden of uncertainty that hovered over Colangelo’s fate.

“Now that there’s a resolution to this, it’s important we take our time in moving in the right direction,’’ Colangelo said. “We’ve got a lot of issues to take care of.”

One of Colangelo’s chief lieutenants, senior vice-president of basketball operations Maurizio Gherardini, needs to be extended.

Other than assistant P.J. Carlesimo, the rest of Triano’s staff aren’t signed beyond this June.

“Obviously, the uncertainty was something not productive for anyone,’’ Colangelo said. “I thought some form of paralysis had actually set in.

“Every time a decision needed to be made, you had to put the brakes on it because you didn’t have the right focus or strategy. And it’s tough to make decisions.

“Now the distraction, if you call it that, is out of the way. There’s a focus and a thorough process will be made with clarity because there’s now clarity at the top.

“And for now, I’m the guy at the top and I’m anxious to get going and finalizing everything.”

Say what you want about Colangelo and the many, many moves he’s engineered during his five-year term, but he’s always tried to make the team better, even when moves backfired.

He’s never been afraid to correct a bad trade and no one is as competitive as Colangelo, who takes every loss personally.

Clearly, his first priority is to clarify Triano’s status, a move that should be easy given how Triano bought into Colangelo’s plan of showcasing the team’s young core, even if it meant losing games.

The two are ideologically and philosophically on the same basketball page, two guys who want to win and two guys who deserved another chance.

No one knows the Raptors’ talent base better than Colangelo and Triano and no one knows the NBA landscape and what rewards may be gained than Colangelo.

It took time, but MLSE made the right move on Tuesday.

frank.zicarelli@sunmedia.ca


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