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05-08-2013, 01:51 AM
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Bryan Colangelo met with key figures on the MLSE board Tuesday afternoon.

Make no mistake: the only person with their finger on the trap door beneath Bryan Colangelo’s chair is the guy who’s not even officially his boss yet.

Tim Leiweke was cautiously cryptic on the subject of the Toronto Raptors executive’s future after it was announced he would be starting as the president and chief executive officer of MLSE on June 30.

“I have a role in the Bryan Colangelo relationship; we’ll see where it goes,” Leiweke said.

According to multiple sources ‘where it goes’ will be determined in the next few days, a week tops.

But more and more it’s looking like Colangelo will be back — along with Raptors head coach Dwane Casey. The wild card is the term — will Colangelo get his option picked up for one more ‘show me’ season? Or will he be able to convince those at MLSE that success is closer than it appears and consistency is important and get an extension?

There are countless adjectives that can be applied to the one-time front office young gun who his moving into his NBA middle age with his share of nicks and scars alongside the triumphs, but determined and flexible are always apt.

Tellingly, multiple sources close to MLSE paint a picture of Colangelo as having embraced the presence of Leiweke rather than cowering at the possibility that a new executive with a very publicly stated mandate to win championships would be looking to make his first splash by showing him the door, or opening the trap door, if you will.

It makes sense. If you’re fighting for your job — and those close to Colangelo say he’s been scrapping hard to get the chance to prove himself correct — then you’re probably smarter to seek influential allies than see every new face as an enemy.

And after all, Leiweke coming on board immediately makes MLSE a better place for a basketball executive to work as his NBA background and clout with ownership — estimates put his salary, for example, in the range of $8 million a year — can help put the needs of the club front and centre.

Whether that means a leadership group willing to spend luxury tax dollars for the first time in franchise history or one simply invested in the team’s upside in what is one of the richest markets in the NBA, there is a sense that rather than seeing Leiweke as a threat, Colangelo has come to consider him as a strong potential advocate in the cause of winning basketball games.

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