Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reshaping Toronto

Bryan Colangelo: consummate professional, competitive businessman, an asset for the city of Toronto.

As the GM Colangelo commented during the press conference today the Raptors Organization is about promoting that family aspect. The recent signings have been clear moves to reinforce that notion, and make Toronto more attractive as a nasketball destination not just a location.

First it was the Hedo Turkoglu press conference, downplaying earlier media comments about the Turkish community in TO and lavishing praise on the great chemistry he should have with his new teammates.

With Jarrett Jack obviously the questions instantly went to his relationship with Chris Bosh as the two were former teammates back in college at Georgia Tech. Colangelo will likely be unapologetic about any move he makes to keep Bosh in town however, he didn't stray from signing European based players a few years back and that lead to success. He must do the same in all his efforts to keep Bosh.

Bosh himself actually came and joined in at the end of the press conference and joked around himself, passing on stories about Jack getting kicked out of practice in college for being too aggressive and getting into a playful argument about who will be the best dressed throughout the season.

For a location that has been less than favourable for NBA players over its history the TO sales job is in full effect, following down a path that GM Bryan Colangelo has been restructing since his arrival. Entering phase two of the Make Toronto Primetime (if you will) Colangelo has once again set Toronto up in a favourable position.

At first it was working with the cultural dynamic of the city. It's well known that Europeans enjoy the cosmopolitan nature of Toronto, and initially Colangelo took advantage of that asset. It lead to the playoffs and even a divisional championship, however that well has dried a little.

In downplaying that aspect of the city Turkoglu kept the attention on the American ballers, showing that this wasn't simply another European joining the team. This is now a competitive location, the team is worth it, this is a team oriented destination not just a city with lots of ethnic neighbourhoods and an exciting Caribana celebration.

Should Bosh resign with TO that image may be cemented.

Toronto will be marketed as a prime sports destination in basketball, just like hockey, if Colangelo has his way. There are no longer any limitations in play for the new gameplan, to compete Colangelo knows that means marquee players and at any cost. That is phase two: bring the best into town, keep the team on the march forward.

"Why here? If you're not guaranteed a starting spot why would you come here?", says Bryan Colangelo. "It's about team and it's about success and it's about winning."

Asked about his opinion of the team Bosh was non-committal but honest in his assessment.

"I was a little nervous at the end of the season with all the moves we had to make", said Bosh, "But so far things are going well."

The more optimistic that statement becomes the more successful phase two will be. Toronto is becoming more and more attractive under Colangelo's watch and while the Raptors Organization may have dropped the ball in becoming the main attention of the city last season, they should not fall into obscurity this coming year. It's likely the GM would not have it any other way.

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