It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to Toronto Raptors fans when the club fired head coach Jay Triano on June 1st. In fact, many of them were probably celebrating after their brutal season ended with a 22-60 record.
Raptors’ general manager Bryan Colangelo actually praised Triano for the dismal season and left fans scratching their heads in April when he said the coach did a great job, deserved a lot of credit, and would probably be back next season. Now it turns out all three statements are untrue.
Triano or any other coach for that matter shouldn’t be considered to be rehired after leading a team to a season as bad as the Raptors had. It’s an insult to the fans and sponsors who support the clubs financially. But when push came to shove Colangelo decided to axe Triano to save his own skin.
Colangelo was given a contract extension in mid-May and it’s apparent he was told to get results now or pay the consequences. Basically it was a message to get rid of Triano if he wanted to stay on as GM. Colangelo thought about things for a couple of weeks and cushioned the blow by assigning Triano a new position with the team, as assistant to the GM.
If the Raptors don’t show any improvement next season it’s a good bet both Colangelo and Triano will be ushered out the door. Canada’s biggest city is an embarrassment when it comes to professional sports as the Raptors, the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Toronto FC of MLS soccer are all among the very worst teams in their respective leagues.
They also have something else in common. They’re all owned by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE). The only respectable teams in the city are MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays and the Toronto Rock lacrosse team, who are both owned by someone else.
Colangelo held a press conference after the firing and said Triano did a fine job developing players. But the fans want to know where the proof is. Triano’s overall record with the club was 87-142 for a 38 per cent winning average and his teams were getting worse, hitting rock bottom this season.
Sure, the players have to be accountable, but it’s the coach’s job to motivate them and get the most out of them. The Raptors’ defence was woeful. They man-to-man marking and zone defence as well as everything in between and were horrible at it.
Triano thanked the Raptors for giving him the chance to coach in the NBA and said he’s proud of his coaching staff. Colangelo will now have to look for a good replacement as his job’s still on the line. It’s doubtful Triano’s too worried about the situation since he’s still getting paid and has a parking spot at the Raptors’ home rink. In fact, he might end up becoming an assistant coach again with the club because that’s the MLSE way, taking two steps backwards while trying to take a step forward.