TORONTO -- Bryan Colangelo is following his father's path,
although he didn't pay attention to the weather.
Colangelo, the Toronto Raptors' president and general manager,
was chosen as the NBA's Executive of the Year for the second time
Monday. He also won the award with Phoenix in 2004-05.
His father, Jerry Colangelo, won the award a record four times
(1976, 1981, 1989 and 1993) after becoming general manager of the
expansion Suns in 1968.
"I learned a lot from my father," Colangelo said. "I must
have missed the part about going to a warm place."
The Raptors weren't an expansion team when Bryan Colangelo took
over on Feb. 28, 2006, but they had won just 27 games the previous
season and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight time.
"To me it was about opportunity," Colangelo said. "It was
about a situation that I thought was a good situation to go to
because there was nothing but upside. It was a chance to really
make some difference fast.
"Fortunately for us, a lot of the moves that we made worked out
this year and it resulted in us turning around the franchise."
Building around forward Chris Bosh, Colangelo added Andrea
Barganani with the first pick in the 2006 draft and signed Anthony
Parker and forward Jorge Garbajosa from Europe. Colangelo also
swung trades for guard T.J. Ford, center Rasho Nesterovic and
forward Kris Humphries.
The revamped roster tied a franchise record with 47 wins and
captured its first Atlantic Division title before losing to the New
Jersey Nets in the first round of the playoffs.
"This award is somewhat bittersweet given that we're not
playing right now," Colangelo said. "We've got changes to make.
We want to make the roster better and we want to compete in the
East for years to come."
Colangelo, who spent 15 years with Phoenix before moving to
Toronto, received 20 votes to nine for Houston Rockets general
manager Carroll Dawson, who finished second in the voting of 45
The award, presented by The Sporting News, comes after Sam
Mitchell was honored as coach of the year last month.
Mitchell's contract expires June 30 but Colangelo said talks are
underway on an extension. He also said one NBA team has officially
sought permission to speak to Mitchell, while another has asked
informally about the status of contract talks.
"The response was basically I'm not prepared to release Sam to
speak to other teams at this stage," Colangelo said. "It's far
too early in the process and we're not at that point yet."
Colangelo acknowledged that the easy part is over in Toronto.
"The fact of the matter is there's a lot of work to do,"
Colangelo said. "We find ourselves division champions and that's
probably a surprise to everyone, but that's not good enough. We
want to get to the point where we can advance in the playoffs and
Colangelo pointed to athleticism and more consistency out of the
small forward position as areas for improvement.
Colangelo will have less money to spend this summer, and
currently is without a draft pick in either round.
"It's certainly going to be difficult to take that next step
given the limited resources that we have," Colangelo said. "I
don't have $10 million in cap space to go out and grab somebody.
We've got to give somebody a compelling reason to come here with
the midlevel exemption or manufacture something in the form of a
Trading for a draft pick is also a possibility.
Colangelo is already making plans for Bargnani's maturation.
"It's likely that he finds himself playing a lot of five next
year," Colangelo said. "Whether he starts over Rasho [Nesterovic]
is unknown at this point but you're going to see him playing a lot