Raptors’ Bryan Colangelo named NBA Executive of the Year
ST. LOUIS (Ticker) - Perhaps they should just rename the NBA Executive of the Year honor to the Colangelo Award.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Toronto Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo was named NBA Executive of the Year on Monday for the second time in three years.
The award is given by The Sporting News, which conducted balloting among league executives. Colangelo received 20 of the 45 votes cast, more than twice as many as any other executive.
Colangelo, 41, also won the award in 2005, when he was with the Phoenix Suns. His father, Jerry, a long-time executive with the Suns who now serves as managing director of USA Basketball, won the award four times.
Last year, the younger Colangelo reached an impasse on a new contract with Suns owner Robert Sarver and left to take over the Raptors, who were en route to their fourth straight year in the draft lottery.
With a risky rebuilding plan grounded in international players and an up-tempo attack, Colangelo laid the foundation for a 20-game turnaround as the Raptors went 47-35, collecting their first Atlantic Division title and first postseason berth in five years.
Some of Colangelo’s bold moves included the hiring of Italian League general manager Maurizio Gherardini, trading big for small in acquiring point guard T.J. Ford for 6-10 forward Charlie Villanueva and selecting Andrea Bargnani with the top overall pick in the 2006 draft.
Ford averaged 14.0 points and 7.9 assists and Bargnani averaged 11.6 points and was second in Rookie of the Year balloting.
Colangelo also signed European stars Jorge Garbajosa and Anthony Parker, who were installed as rotation regulars and had solid seasons. He also swung a deal at the trading deadline, acquiring clutch shooter Juan Dixon from Portland for guard Fred Jones.
Garbajosa averaged 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds, Parker averaged 12.4 points and Dixon averaged 11.1 points after the trade.
The mass changes were made around forward Chris Bosh, who received his second All-Star berth this season and appears entrenched as the franchise’s future cornerstone. One of Colangelo’s first moves was signing Bosh to a maximum contract extension.
Perhaps Colangelo’s best move was one he did not make. When the Raptors stumbled to a 2-8 start, there were calls for Colangelo to fire coach Sam Mitchell, who was in the final year of his contract. Instead, Colangelo remained patient and was rewarded as the Raptors reached the playoffs and Mitchell was named Coach of the Year.
In 2005, Colangelo engineered a similar turnaround with the Suns, adding coach Mike D’Antoni and point guard Steve Nash to create an up-tempo attack. Phoenix jumped from 29 to 62 wins, reaching the Western Conference finals.
Colangelo joined Bob Bass (San Antonio, 1990; Charlotte, 1997) and Jerry West (Los Angeles Lakers, 1995; Memphis, 2004) as the only multiple winners with different teams.
Jerry Colangelo’s unprecedented four honors came with Phoenix in 1976, 1981, 1989 and 1993.
Houston Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson finished a distant second with nine votes. Dawson swung the deal that landed veteran two-way forward Shane Battier, who helped the Rockets win 52 games, an 18-game improvement.
Seven other executives also received votes.