Bryan Colangelo is out as general manager of the Toronto Raptors, but he will remain the NBA team’s president.
The Raptors say they have extended Colangelo’s contract as president and that he will report directly to Tim Leiweke, the new CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.
But somebody else will take over the team’s day-to-day basketball operations.
Leiweke is conducting a search for a new GM, with input from Colangelo. The team hopes to appoint the GM — who will have “final authority on all basketball-related decisions” — within the next 30 days.
There have been reports the Raptors are targeting Denver GM Masai Ujiri, who worked under Colangelo as Toronto’s assistant GM from 2008 to 2010.
MLSE held a team option on Colangelo’s contract and there had been speculation about his future since the team completed another disappointing season.
Leiweke says he feels the change in the front-office structure will “be in the best interest of the organization.”
“By splitting the roles and having both men report directly to me, we are adding depth to the basketball operations group and giving the Toronto Raptors the best chance of competing for championships in the future,” Leiweke said in a statement. “The new GM will inherit a great situation in Toronto, as all of my due diligence around the league indicates that we have a fine, young core and a few key moves will make us a playoff contender next season.”
The Raptors say Colangelo will continue to advise Leiweke on basketball-related matters while also broadening his involvement with the business side of the franchise.
“The future of this team and this organization excites me more than ever, and I am looking forward to being part of our future success,” said Colangelo. “I will add whatever is necessary to help improve our basketball team while also expanding my efforts to increase brand awareness and influence growth of the game across this great country.”
Colangelo, 47, joined the Raptors in 2006 and was named the NBA’s executive of the year in 2007 when Toronto won its only Atlantic Division title. But Toronto has missed the post-season for five straight seasons.
“Bryan is skilled, knowledgeable and respected across the NBA and will be a resource that we count on to help build the Raptors into Canada’s team,” Leiweke said.
The Raptors began this season with high hopes after trading for Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields and adding rookie centre Jonas Valanciunas.
But the team went a woeful 4-19 to start to the season, a hole that proved too deep to dig out of.
Colangelo acquired Rudy Gay in a mid-season deal that sent Jose Calderon to Detroit and Ed Davis to Memphis, and the Raptors finished 30-29. Still, it wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs.
Andrea Bargnani will go down as Colangelo’s biggest blunder. Colangelo selected Bargnani first overall in the 2006, but the enigmatic Italian has failed to live up to expectations.
Colangelo said he looked to trade Bargnani this season, but his trade value dropped after he suffered an elbow injury in December that sidelined him for 26 games.