Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Raptors enter another period of uncertainty

Future of coach, GM biggest question for mediocre team

  • Print

TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors played their best basketball of the season down the stretch, providing a tantalizing glimpse of what might have been.

But Thursday, as the NBA season was about to get really interesting, the Raptors were done and departed, their Air Canada Centre lockers empty -- and that said everything about their season. Once again, it wasn't good enough.

The Raptors (34-48) won seven of their last eight games, but finished four games back of a playoff position, missing the post-season for the fifth consecutive year.

Now the biggest question heading into another off-season of uncertainty-- for a team mired in mediocrity -- is the future of president and GM Bryan Colangelo and coach Dwane Casey.

Colangelo doesn't have a deal for next season, with the club holding an option on what would be his eighth year. The Raptors made the playoffs in Colangelo's first two, winning their first Atlantic Division title in his rookie campaign.

Casey has one year left on his contract. And while the coach acknowledged change is part of the NBA, he said he supports Colangelo.

"I want Bryan back. Bryan hired me here. I don't want to go into another year with a new general manager," Casey said Wednesday, before the Raptors tipped off against the Boston Celtics in their season finale. "We know each other and I know he knows what we're looking for, what we're trying to do.

"He's done a good job of taking big steps, getting big assets and pieces of a core together. I'd like to finish it out and I'd like to do it with Bryan."

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. already cleaned house with two of its other teams this season, firing Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke and totally revamping the Toronto FC front office.

Both Colangelo and Casey are scheduled to meet with the media on Monday to rehash the season that got off to a horrible 4-19 start.

After a couple of seasons of preaching patience with the rebuilding Raptors, there was a quiet sense of optimism surrounding this team at the start of the 2012-13 campaign. But their season went off the rails early, the Raptors digging themselves a hole so deep they needed a spectacular turnaround to salvage the season. Their so-so 30-29 finish wasn't enough.

DeMar DeRozan, whose improved play in the past few weeks was one of the bright spots on a dreary season, said he planned to parlay his disappointment into motivation this off-season.

"It means everything. Everything," DeRozan said on what a playoff appearance would represent. "This is what I trained in the summer for. This exact reason, to play in the playoffs. That doesn't do nothing but fuel me personally and fuel other players on this team. I look up to a guy like Rudy (Gay), played in the playoffs, knows how intense it is. I just want to experience that.

"I think that'll bring out the most in a lot of players on this team. I think we'll definitely be something to reckon with."

But it will be another year before they find out.

Other than front office decisions, the off-season will be a relatively quiet one compared to last season's dealing that brought Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields to Toronto. The team lacks the financial flexibility to make any big moves, and has no draft pick unless it beats the draft lottery odds and winds up in the top three.

The players said they look forward to some stability in the starting lineup.

"That's huge for us," Lowry said. "With the guys that are coming back -- me, DeMar, Rudy, JV (Jonas Valanciunas), Amir (Johnson) -- that lineup, we've played together... what, about two months and it's been pretty good.

"I think coming back and knowing how to play, knowing the situation with JV getting a little bit better, with DeMar getting a lot better, and Amir being consistent like he was and Rudy becoming more of the star he could possibly be, and myself being healthy and aggressive and being myself, I think we've got a good, solid starting five."

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 19, 2013 C7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Sneak peek: MTS Centre’s renovations for 2014/15 season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Weather Standup- Catching rays. Prairie Dog stretches out at Fort Whyte Centre. Fort Whyte has a Prairie Dog enclosure with aprox. 20 dogs young and old. 060607.
  • A mother goose has chosen a rather busy spot to nest her eggs- in the parking lot of St Vital Centre on a boulevard. Countless cars buzz by and people have begun to bring it food.-Goose Challenge Day 06 - May 08, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How many goals do you think Evander Kane will score this year?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google