July 09, 2009

A Tale of Three GMs; Part I: Bryan Colangelo

First things first, I've got to thank Banu Turkoglu. If it wasn't for her, Hedo Turkoglu would likely be blazing trails out in Portland, and I probably wouldn't be writing this post. The Turkoglu family's decision to pick Toronto as their free agency destination of choice set off a chain of events last week, culminating yesterday in a new and improved Toronto Raptors roster. Gone are Anthony Parker, Shawn Marion, Kris Humphries, Nathan Jawai, and a 2016 second round draft pick. Bryan Colangelo got the man he wanted, a star in Turkoglo, and filled out his bench by acquiring Devean George, and Antoine Wright, whose contracts both expire after the 2009/2010 season.

The best part? Toronto comes out of the deal with money to burn; money nobody expected them to have. While I have no idea how he did it, or even what it really means, Colangelo's still got the mid-level cap exception of about $5.9 million, and the biannual exception of about $1.9 million, to spend. And the team is $12 million and change below the salary cap, with some of that loot reportedly headed former Raptors Carlos Delfino and Rasho Nesterovic's way.

Clearly Bryan Colangelo can have his cake, and eat it too. And he's not done yet.

All this only one day after locking up the future of the franchise, Andrea Bargnani. As we head into year four of Bargnani's five-year-plan, the Italian seems poised and ready to break out.

And here we all were, in the days after the Turkoglu signing was rumoured to only be a formality, wondering about the state of the Raptors' bench. Turns out, as Colangelo himself wrote over at RaptorBlog.com, we never had anything to worry about.

These certainly aren't Rob Babcock's Toronto Raptors. The conclusion, agreed upon by most: Colangelo's a genius. He gets what he wants. He wanted some Big Turk when he was running the show in Phoenix, and wasn't going to let him get away twice. Turkoglu's agent credited Colangelo's persistence, above all else (yes, above even our most wonderfully cosmopolitan and multicultural city), in getting the deal done.

I love the Turkoglu signing, if only for the fact that it raises the self-confidence of a city that isn't used to attracting big-name free agents on the basketball (and baseball) side of the coin. Too many Toronto Raptors have weaseled their way out of playing here. Fuck Vince Carter, I'm still upset about Antonio Davis and his quip about "O Canada" and the metric system. It's heartening to land Turkoglu; it feels like a coup. (Suck it, Portland.)

Is a five-year deal too long? Perhaps. The contract reminds me of the one the Leafs gave Jason Blake two summers ago; you either love it, or you hate it. This much is true: the 6'10 Turkoglu gives the Raptors another bona fide scoring option, especially late in games. Chris Bosh isn't exactly what the kids call "clutch," and I've got no problem with Turkoglu taking the rock with the game on the line. In fact, I'm all for it. And for a guy who played with a rebounding vacuum in Dwight Howard, 5.3 boards per game impresses me in a way it probably shouldn't.

Has there ever been a stronger starting five - Bargnani, Bosh, Turkoglu, DeMar DeRozan, and Jose Calderon - in Raptors history? A bench of George, Wright, Delfino, Nesterovic, Reggie Evans and Roko Ukic doesn't sound too bad, either. Playoffs!1

Just when it seemed like the lustre had worn off of Bryan Colangelo, he reminds us why he's one of the most creative minds in basketball. His work sends a message not only to Raptors fans, but also to Chris Bosh: a 33-win season will not be tolerated. Stick around, Mr. 20/10, the future is bright.

The Summer of Brian Burke? Not so fast. The Maple Leafs' general manager may have just been outdone by his MLSE counterpart. And if it's a competition, I'm all for it.

Bryan Colangelo's office: where amazing happens.

Coming up, part two: the plight of J.P. Ricciardi ...


SL said...

Bah Rob Babcock! How soon I've forgotten the Babcock era.

kushnir said...

when we heard the details of the deal, my buddy turned to me and claimed BC was "fan-fucking-...genious"

Escaped Lab Rat said...

Excitement for the Raps is coming at the right time, what with the Jays tanking and all. Time to attend another game this year...

Anonymous said...

Colangelo just continues to surprise me. I honestly didn't think he could pull it off. The man pulled it off and then some, all while pimping out in those nice Italian suits.

ar - KEE said...

The Jays need a new GM.

His name needs to be Bryan or Brian.

End of story.

furcifer said...

He's magic.