Bryan Colangelo, who won't have final say in basketball decisions for the Toronto Raptors for the first time in seven years, says he's not angry at being let go as general manager, despite his new boss's characterization as such.
"I'm disappointed I'm not going to be able to see this thing through with respect to final decision making," Colangelo said in a conference call on Tuesday.
Colangelo made his comments after being just announced as president of the Raptors, a role that will see him slide over to more business-related decisions with the team.
He deemed it a new chapter in his basketball life.
'It's a unique situation for me to be in, not an ideal situation, but I'm going to embrace it and make the most of it.' —Bryan Colangelo, relieved of Raptors' G.M. duties
"It's a unique situation for me to be in, not an ideal situation, but I'm going to embrace it and make the most of it," he said.
New Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment president Tim Leiweke said in an earlier conference call that Colangelo was "probably ticked off" at the decision that will see the team hire a new GM who will determine the coaching staff and all basketball decisions.
Colangelo, who turns 48 in June, was asked why he would stay with the team in such a role when he's had more than a decade of experience with respect to basketball matters with the Raptors and Phoenix Suns.
"I do care very much about the Toronto Raptors, the success of this organization," he said.
His immediate team function was to represent the Raptors at the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night.
Toronto has not made the playoffs in the last five seasons, a sputtering end to a seven-year tenure that began with Colangelo being named NBA Executive of the Year in 2007, as well as playoff berths for the Raptors in both that and the following year.
Acquisitions of players such as Jermaine O'Neal and Hedo Turkoglu didn't pan out, Andrea Bargnani has not lived up to his stature as the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2006, and the Raptors could not convince star Chris Bosh to sign another contract to stay in 2010.
"I still would say there's value in Andrea as a player," Colangelo replied when asked about the inconsistent Italian. "I get the fact that a change of scenery is probably the best thing for all sides.
"I'm not here to run a bus over anybody," he added.
In more recent times, the Raptors have acquired or drafted DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valunciunas, Terrence Ross and Rudy Gay.
Colangelo was likely pointing to those players when he asserted that the Raptors have seen their lowest ebb and are on their way to being a playoff team.
Colangelo will advise Leiweke in the new GM search and said he is committed to a team and city he loves, but has an out clause which will allow him to assess any external job opportunities.
"It wouldn't be easy for me to walk into just any situation, very few NBA jobs would excite me," Colangelo said.
But, Colangelo admitted, he would be foolish to say no without studying what's being presented.