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Raptors Looking for Front Office Help - Will It Make a Difference?

The Raptors have apparently finalized their nominees for bolstering the club's front-office situation but the HQ wonders if it even matters who the team chooses in the end...

On Monday afternoon, Yahoo Sports' uber b-ball scribe Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Toronto Raptors had finished interviewing for a "high-ranking executive job," presumably the team's General Manager position.  

Of course that position is currently held by Bryan Colangelo, however the thought of late has been that Colangelo will abdicate the throne and retain only the President title, allowing someone else to come in and serve as GM.

The interviewees?

The same four names which have been bandied about for quite some time; former Portland GM Kevin Pritchard, current Philadelphia 76er GM Ed Stefanski, San Antonio Spurs' assistant GM Dennis Lindsey, and former New Orleans' GM Jeff Bower.

We'll get into the pros and cons of hiring each later this week, but off the top, does anyone else find this whole situation slightly amusing?  I mean, Bryan Colangelo was brought in just over five years ago to fill this exact void! A recent "NBA Executive of the Year," Colangelo was supposed to use his basketball genius to help turn around the moribund franchise.

Instead, the past three seasons have produced nary a playoff appearance, and a sparkling .386 winning percentage.

The first two years of his regime went well without a doubt.  Colangelo produced two straight playoff appearances and while the Raptors failed to get out of the first round, the franchise seemed to be heading back in the right direction.

Since those first two seasons though, things have take a major turn for the worse and now the only direction the club seems to be realistically pointed is towards the NBA's draft lottery.

So now we hear that Bryan's going to bring in some help and to me this raises a number of questions and concerns.

First, I have to ask, why.  Was this a condition of extending BC, that he had to hire someone to handle the bulk of the basketball decisions?  And if so, why extend BC at all?  Why not simply bring in one of the aforementioned quartet to play both roles?  It's not uncommon in the NBA for a GM to serve as President, so a decision like this wouldn't exactly be breaking new ground.  

After all, that's what Colangelo currently is doing, and maybe therein lies the answer to my question.

Having gone down this road unsuccessfully once before, understandably, MLSE perhaps is a slight big leery about doing it again.

And that's fine.

Two heads are better than one as they say but if that's the case, this brings me to my next issue, one Wojnarowski touches on in his post.

Will the new front office exec be left alone to run the show, or will Colangelo still be pulling the strings?  From Woj's post:

Even if Colangelo cedes the GM title to get Lindsey - something he'll almost assuredly have to do - it's hard to imagine that Colangelo, an NBA two-time executive of the year, won't still wield significant clout on every basketball decision.    

If Colangelo is begrudgingly looking for help based on an edict from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, it's hard to imagine him letting said help make any major decisions that run counter to his own views.

"Trade Bargnani to the Clips for Kaman?  Sure Kevin, I'll get right on that..."

This would indeed be a worst-case scenario for fans as the club would continue to chug along at a sub-.500 pace, with whoever is hired playing Billy Beane to BC's Art Howe circa 2001.

However the logical thought process is that decree from MLSE or not, BC would ensure via the hiring process that whoever comes in to lend a helping hand, is at least someone he can work with, or with whom he has a prior working relationship.

Unfortunately none of the four seem to be the latter.

I don't have complete work histories for all four, and I'm guessing Colangelo has had dealings with each to certain extents, but none pop out in terms of familiarity with the BC mantra, either by way of Phoenix or Toronto.  I'd guess that if we were going simply on years in the league and around the game itself, Stefanski would come out on top. But that really doesn't mean much in terms of a final choice.

And I have to question if the hiring itself will mean anything in the end.

Again, if Colangelo is still holding on the strings and having the final say, I'm not sure if we as fans can expect a completely new outlook from management.  The Raps could hire John Hollinger himself to be GM and we might still see the same types of personnel decisions ultimately being made.

My point here is that what's more important than this whole process of hiring a new front office lead is that BC himself needs to change.  We've seen some subtle signs already that this may be taking place (hiring of Dwane Casey etc) but while he's still at the helm, this is the key determinant in terms of the club's future.

We can talk till we're blue in the face about who the best hire of the quartet will be, but with Colangelo still sitting atop the Dino monarchy, the onus is on him to lead the club back towards the promised land of playoff contention.

So bring on the new GM, assistant GM, towel boy, whomever.

But here's to hoping that with them comes a new Colangelo as well.