Lawrence Frank meets Raps' criteria

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

There are no shortage of names to fill the head coaching role left vacant in Toronto when GM and president Bryan Colangelo opted not to pick up Jay Triano's option.

From a candidate like Dwane Casey to the long-in-the- tooth coach Rick Adelman, Colangelo's search could go in any number of directions.

But a day after the surprising news broke that Colangelo had decided against bringing Triano back, there does seem to be a consensus of sorts within NBA circles with regard to who best fits Colangelo's description of the man he wants calling the shots from the Raptors bench.

That man, all 5-foot-8 of him, would be former New Jersey Nets head coach Lawrence Frank.

ESPN has con-firmed both Frank and Casey will be interview for the job.

Unlike his first head coaching experience, Frank would come to this one as a very much more known quantity.

Even after spending three years on Brian Winter's bench with the Vancouver Grizzlies and 31/2 more under Byron Scott in New Jersey, Frank still was being questioned by security on road games when he travelled with the Nets.

His boyish looks and smaller stature had more than one arena security guard asking Frank for some form of ID whether he was getting off the team bus or not.

BOYISH LOOK

Frank hasn't gotten any taller in the ensuing years and he still has a boyish look about him despite his 40 years on the planet. What he has added is much more cachet within NBA circles.

Six years calling the shots in New Jersey will do that for a man.

The fact that he more often than not motivated Vince Carter to play to his ridiculous capabilities more than any coach since Lenny Wilkens is no small accomplishment either. Getting Carter to at least pay lip service to his defensive responsibilities is probably even a bigger selling point with Colangelo.

Frank took a Nets team with Jason Kidd, Carter, and Richard Jefferson for the bulk of his six seasons there to the conference semifinals in three of four seasons and a first-round loss in the other. His final two years his Nets did not make the playoffs before he was dismissed Nov. 29, 2009 having endured an 0-16 start to begin the season.

Frank spent the rest of the 2009/10 season as an analyst for NBATV but in the summer of 2010 joined Doc Rivers in Boston to replace Tom Thibodeau as his lead assistant.

Frank hits on just about every one of Colangelo's wants and needs in his next head coach. Colangelo talked about bringing in a guy with a pedigree, a resume that his young players could look up to and a guy with a defensive leaning.

Frank didn't win any championships in New Jersey but he did win two Atlantic championships titles and took his team to the playoffs in his first four years as head coach.

He has been in the league and the Raptors division long enough that if he does come to Toronto, he'll bring with him a depth of knowledge about their nearest and fiercest rivals that is tough to beat.

Frank's best known quality, though, is his legendary work ethic. Even on the day he was fired in New Jersey, from Rod Thorn who did the firing to Tom Barrise who replaced him, just about everyone mentioned the tireless work Frank did in his six years as head coach and his 31/2 as an assistant to Byron Scott.

It was that reputation as an around-the-clock basketball junkie that got Frank the job in Boston where he replaced another basketball workaholic in Thibodeau.

COMPETITION

The Raptors are not the only team, however, likely in the hunt for Frank's services.

He was interviewed in Houston before Kevin McHale got that job and could still be in the line for the Golden State job, although Mark Jackson now appears to be the front runner for that one.

Colangelo, if he doesn't want to lose his perceived front-runner, might be forced to move a little quicker than he would like in choosing a bench boss.

He certainly wouldn't get short-changed on the effort with Frank.


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