Stark differences between what Pat Riley and Bryan Colangelo represent


One has a slew of NBA Championships to his credit, thus far.

The other, to this point, has none.

One has been a highly-rated college player, a solid NBA role player, a lauded head coach, a reknowned motivational speaker/author and ‘Leadership Expert’, and is now a well-regarded Team President.

The other is a 2-time recipient of the NBA’s EOTY Award.

One represents an “individual” principal owner with exceptionally deep pockets who has already put together 1 world championship team and is willing to pay the asking price to become a legitimate contender, once again.

The other represents an ownership “group” that … despite a diverse set of financial holdings … has as its primary objective the making of a healthy profit for its corporate stakeholders.

One speaks definitively, peppering his everyday language with words and phrases like these:


Riley’s master free agent plan started years ago

“I think it will be equivalent to a space shuttle launch,” Riley said back in May, shortly after the season ended and the Heat summer of 2010 began. “Everybody who’s covering the day it’s going to get launched, you never know [how] it is until they hit the button. When they hit the button, a lot of things explode down underneath to lift the rocket up.”“We have been in this for two years.”

“I know what I’m going to do.”


The other … although equally polished, in his own way, from a media-savvy perspective … is more prone to use words and phrases like these:


Bosh likely to leave Colangelo says

“We will get to a point where there’s a conclusion to this one way or the other. It’s the perfect storm for Chris Bosh to leave and unfortunately we’re possibly going to be on the short end of that, but we will evolve. We will have to evolve and move forward.”


The question is …

Q1. If you were to put yourself in the shoes of a relatively youngish, talented, marquee player in the NBA, for which of these two General Managers and, therefore, their respective owners and organizations, would you choose to work during the next crucial middle – i.e. maximum performance – phase of your professional career, as a world-class athlete?

A1. If your No. 1 priority, as a professional athlete, truly is having the opportunity to win-it-all … then, it isn’t really even a contentious debate.

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9 Responses to “Stark differences between what Pat Riley and Bryan Colangelo represent”

  1. beleaguered sports fan Says:

    Totally agree. I’m intrigued by this notion, and I know these things aren’t this simple, but are you suggesting that if Bosh’s decision came down to one major factor, it’s the GM (and obviously to a lesser extent ownership)?

  2. The AltRaps Toronto Raptors Evening Brew for June 29th | The AltRaps Blog Says:

    [...] khandor’s sports blog » Stark differences between what Pat Riley and Bryan Colangelo represent – If you were to put yourself in the shoes of a relatively youngish, talented, marquee player in the NBA, for which of these two General Managers and, therefore, their respective owners and organizations, would you choose to work during the next crucial middle – i.e. maximum performance – phase of your professional career, as a world-class athlete? [...]

  3. khandor Says:


    1. Welcome aboard! :-)

    2. Yes, that’s my perception of this situation.

  4. ChrisR Says:

    1. I remember BC claiming that he could use the 3 million dollars obtained in the JO trade to purchase a 1st round pick in the near future. Strangely enough, look at the cost of mid second round picks in this years draft….does he intend to do anything but line MLSE pockets with that 3 million?

    2. That lottery protected 1st rounder he gift wrapped to Pat Riley is looking scarier by the minute(not protected 2014) without CB4 in a Raptors uniform.

    3. It all looks more like patch work than a “master plan” as BC’s tenure continues. Reactive as opposed to Proactive.

    4. I DO think he has homeruns left in him, and I pray he hits a few this summer, however, it is very tough to deal from his position…other GM’s smell blood

  5. hotshot Says:

    Riley is one shrewed man, no wonder he looks and acts like Gordon Gekko.

  6. Scott G Says:

    ChrisR – totally agree with points 1-3.. not with 4 (the first part, at least). First round picks, especially ones that have the potential to be high first round picks, are very valuable assets that should not ever be given away in the kind of trade like the JO/Moon for Marion/Banks deal. It IS all patch-work, IMO… a trade-by-trade kind of analysis, rather than any underlying master plan for the long-term.

    Sadly, I don’t think great teams are built via “homerun” trades… they are built over time through a series of solid moves as well as internal player development. While the trade that puts a team over the top might LOOK like a homerun trade (eg Gasol to LAL, Garnett to BOS, etc), in fact the team that becomes great is often only able to make that trade because they’ve been positioning themselves well for a longer period of time, and because they are NOT in a position where other teams have bargaining leverage over them (e.g. your “blood in the water comment.”

    As a raps fan, BC’s tenure has been pretty depressing. He’s the ultimate corporate salesman… perhaps he and MLSE are the perfect match?

  7. khandor Says:


    Welcome aboard. :-)

    re: lining MLSE’s pockets

    It sure looks as though he is a shrewd businessman, first and foremost, rather than a shrewd judge of basketball talent and how to construct a championship calibre team.

    re: trading future No. 1 Draft Picks

    Unless your team is making a legitimate push to win the championship, this is a definite no-no.

    re: reactive vs proactive

    This is an apt description and not the way to build a championship outfit.

    re: homeruns left in his bag of tricks

    The only homerum Bryan Colangelo has ever it was primarily due to the personal/family life circumstances of Steve Nash. Unfortunately, if someone has never hit a homerun before it is awful difficult to say that person as someone with legit homerun power.

  8. khandor Says:


    Welcome aboard! :-)

    Pat Riley is a tried and tested leader in the NBA marketplace.

    Even this, however, does not necessarily guarantee that Miami is going to be able to:

    i. Re-sign Dywane Wade;
    ii. Sign Chris Bosh; and/or,
    iii. Sign LeBron James.

    The one thing I would be willing to bet on, however, is that the Heat will almost always be able to field a highly competitive team, as long as he is at the helm of their team … catastrophic injuries to their marquee player aside.

    As Chris Bosh has now said, after his meeting with Miami … Pat Riley has a passion for and a commitment to Winning.

  9. khandor Says:

    Scott G.,

    I remember first hearing the news that the Raptors [Richard Peddie?] were going after Bryan Colangelo to be their new GM, back during the 2005-2006 season and thinking the following thoughts, in this order:

    1. This might be a worthwhile hire for this franchise.

    2. Why on earth would he choose to come to Toronto, however, rather than continue on in Phoenix?

    3. Let me do a thorough check on what he has actually been able to do with the Suns after rising to the GM position with his father as the principal owner of the team.

    - research done
    - then

    4. Ah, oh. This might not be so good after all.

    That is when the first hammers dropped and the organizational decisions were made to:

    i. Trade Araujo for Humphries … rather than letting RA’s contract expire after the following season;

    ii. Not renew the contract of Mike James … rather than keep him on board with a modest contract offer [because no one else in the league really wanted him to be their starting PG, in the first place] while Jose Calderon was acclimating to the NBA game;

    iii. Trade Villanueva for Ford;

    iv. Not fire Sam Mitchell;

    v. Select Bargnani with the No. 1 Draft Pick, rather than trading down for Roy or Gay;

    and, then, finally

    vi. Sign Parker, Jones and Garbajosa as UFAs.

    At that point, my thoughts shifted to real concern.

    Q1. Would this version of the team be improved?
    A1. Most definitely.

    Q2. Would there be long term negative consequences for the team?
    A2. Most definitely.

    The rest is now history.


    Here’s what I would do, going forward, if I was charged with running this franchise:

    1. Dismiss everybody employed by the team in the Basketball Operations department, except for the current group of players, Wayne Embry and Bryan Colangelo.

    e.g. Maurizio Gherardini, Masai Ujiri, Marc Eversley, the scouting department, Jay Triano and staff, the medical training staff, etc.

    Bryan Colangelo, by his own admission, is a “consensus” decision-maker and the real problem with the personnel decisions which he’s made is the group of people he has assembled around him to assist in that process.

    He is still a fine figure-head to the franchise, from a league-wide cache standpoint … but, the personnel decisions of this franchise, since Feb 2006, have been nothing but mediocre, overall.

    2. Ask him to hire the best and most experienced head coach and scouting staff, he can find, disregarding what the financial cost might be.

    3. Start over, again, building up the organization from scratch, as if it’s an expansion franchise.


    Unfortunately, none of that is going to happen since, as you’ve pointed out, Bryan Colangelo seems to be a perfect match for MLSE, as is.

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