The Raptors announced Tuesday that while Colangelo’s contract as team president is being extended, a new general manager will be hired within the next 30 days.
The changes were announced by Tim Leiweke, who is the incoming CEO of team owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Leiweke also said he is moving up his start date from July 1 to June 3.
”We have a lot of work to do in this organization,” Leiweke said. ”We’re not good enough. I believe Bryan can help in a lot of those areas.”
The Raptors were 10th in the Eastern Conference this year, finishing out of the playoffs for a franchise-worst fifth straight season.
”There is accountability here and we need a new set of eyes and a new thinking,” Leiweke said.
Leiweke was hired last month after a successful period in charge of Anschutz Entertainment Group, owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS.
Leiweke said Colangelo fought ”like heck” to keep his role as general manager.
”Bryan’s probably ticked off at me,” Leiweke said, then paused to chuckle. ”There’s no probably. He’s ticked off at me. This isn’t his perfect world, either. But to his credit, he accepts it.”
Colangelo said he was ”a little disappointed,” but denied being angry at Leiweke.
”It’s a unique situation for me to be in,” Colangelo said. ”Not an ideal situation but I’m going to embrace it and make the most of it.”
Leiweke addressed concerns that keeping Colangelo around would complicate things for any new hire by stressing that the new GM will have complete authority on basketball matters and will report directly to Leiweke, not Colangelo.
”If anyone ultimately disrupts that process, then I’ll clean it up,” Leiweke said.
Colangelo said he understood the message from his new boss.
”The bottom line is, if I get in the way, I’m not going to be around,” he said.
Of course Leiweke wants Toronto to become Canada’s team.
Leiweke said he wants Toronto to celebrate its 20th anniversary as an NBA city by hosting the All-Star Game for the first time in 2016, calling the game ”a must-have.”
He also said he wants the team to build a new training facility and hinted at changes to the Raptors’ brand, acknowledging ”specific” conversations with the NBA about potential changes.
”We absolutely have had conversations about the color and the makeup of our brand, our uniforms and our image,” he said. ”To me, we should be all about the Canadian flag and Canada.
”We are Toronto’s team but I think we have to learn how to be Canada’s team.”
If you want to be Canada’s basketball team, win something. That is how the Blue Jays did it and that is what the Raptors are going to have to do. No one feels good about themselves wearing a Raptors shirt because the team is unstable and most often a team of losers. You want us to care, consistently win.
According to reports, Leiweke didn’t want Colangelo to be kept around and it doesn’t sound like Colangelo wants to stay around. In other words despite having new owners and a new CEO, MLSE is still MLSE which is bad news for sports fans in Canada.