We look at the three front-runners in the race to replace Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo
When Adrian Wojnarowski speaks, the basketball world listens. So we took notice when the Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist and world-class rumour monger reported last week that the Toronto Raptors have narrowed their GM search to three candidates. Current Raps president and general manager Bryan Colangelo has made it clear that he’s looking to step back from his day-to-day duties to focus on the future direction of the club. Considering his recent track record (Jonas Valanciunas aside), that might not be such a bad thing. Interviews likely won’t begin until August, but in the meantime, we break down the top three men for the job after the jump.
1. Ed Stefanski
Current gig: General manager, Philadelphia 76ers (2007–present)
Previous gig(s): GM, New Jersey Nets (2004–2007)
Best move: A toss-up: either drafting sharpshooter Jodie Meeks 41st overall in 2009 or orchestrating the trade that sent the uninspiring trio of Alonzo Mourning, Eric Williams and Aaron Williams to the Raptors in exchange for Vince Carter. Seven years later, it still hurts.
Worst move: Granting Richard Jefferson a six-year, $80-million contract extension and then frantically spending the next few years trying to find a place to trade him.
GM score: 7/10. His teams routinely appear in the playoffs, and the current incarnation of the Sixers is the model for how to build a team through the draft—something he’d likely get ample opportunity to do in Toronto.
2. Jeff Bower
Current gig: Unemployed
Previous gig(s): GM, New Orleans Hornets (2002–2003, 2005–2010)
Best move: Another toss-up: signing all-star forward David West to a five-year, $45-million extension or trading J. R. Smith for alley-oop machine Tyson Chandler.
Worst move: Drafting Hilton Armstrong 12th overall in 2006, and thereby paving the way for a lot of moments like this.
GM score: 8/10. It’s easy to be successful when your team has the league’s best point guard (one Chris Paul, who was stolen by Bower with the fourth pick in 2005). But he deserves credit for surrounding Paul with a complementary supporting cast. Doing the same around DeMar DeRozan will be a decidedly more difficult challenge.
3. Dennis Lindsay
Current gig: VP/assistant GM, San Antonio Spurs (2007–present)
Previous gig(s): Director of player development/VP of basketball operations, Houston Rockets (1996–2007)
Best move: Fleeing Houston to join Spurs GM R. C. Buford, head coach Gregg Popovich and the best front-office staff in the NBA.
Worst move: Landing guard-of-the-future George Hill with the 26th pick of the 2008 draft, then trading him for an unproven rookie this past June.
GM score: 7.5/10. It’s harder to gauge Lindsay’s influence as an assistant GM, but teams have been chasing after him for years. And considering how the last Spurs staffer fared when he left San Antonio, we have no qualms with the Raptors doing the same.