Thursday , May , 14 , 2009 Oly Sandor

The convenient coach: Why Bryan Colangelo kept Jay Triano in Toronto

Earlier this week, Raptors’ GM Bryan Colangelo retained Triano’s services, inking the former Canadian national team coach to a three-year extension. Keeping Triano was about convenience, not wins and losses. After a brief turnaround, Toronto is again unstable and an afterthought in the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment empire. Triano’s hiring buys Colangelo, the golden boy turned fall guy, time to right the ship he built …


The convenient coach: Why Bryan Colangelo kept Jay Triano in TorontoThe interim tag is gone. Jay Triano is Toronto’s head coach. Full time.

Earlier this week, Raptors’ GM Bryan Colangelo retained Triano’s services, inking the former Canadian national team coach to a three-year extension. Keeping Triano was about convenience, not wins and losses.

After a brief turnaround, Toronto is again unstable and an afterthought in the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment empire. Triano’s hiring buys Colangelo, the golden boy turned fall guy, time to right the ship he built.

Chris Bosh’s pending free agency has hamstrung the franchise. And no big-ticket coach will accept the gig because the four-man hasn’t made a decision about staying or leaving in July 2010. Until his situation is clarified, everything else is in a holding pattern.

Bosh isn’t the only on-court question mark. The wing-spot, even if Shawn Marion is re-signed for the mid-level exception, needs an upgrade, while toughness and depth, especially at the one-spot, are also concerns.

Triano will transition the team through their inevitable makeover. But Toronto would be reluctant to sign a big-ticket coach because one is already on the payroll. Sam Mitchell, who was fired in November, is still owed nine million dollars, so Triano is a low cost alternative.

Citizenship matters. The Raptors fell short of expectations last season and the team lost touch with its fan base. A Canadian like Triano coaching the sole Canadian franchise had enough of a feel good vibe that some fan disappointment was soothed. And this will surely help next season if the club struggles.

Triano is far from secure, though. Cheap contract and folk hero status aside, a possible coach-in-waiting, Marc Iavaroni, was recently hired as an assistant. Iavaroni, who is friends with Colangelo from their time in Phoenix, was once a head coach in Memphis. If things sour, he’ll replace Triano.

Some coaches are hired to win championships. Triano, however, was kept for other reasons. And that says a lot about the current direction of the Raptors. 

What are your thoughts on Triano? Is he the long-term answer at coach for Toronto? Get at us in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of ajvlasman.