TORONTO (AP) — Bryan Colangelo abruptly stepped down
from his role as president of the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, a move that was unexpected even after he’d lost his position as general manager to Masai Ujiri.
“Having had a better chance to reflect
on things for the past several weeks, I have concluded that stepping
away from my position is the best course of action for the organization
and everyone involved,” Colangelo said in a press release.
The Raptors said Colangelo will remain as a consultant with the team and with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd.
The 48-year-old Colangelo lost his job
as general manager in May after the Raptors went 34-48 and failed to
make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. He remained as
president in a non-basketball role, while Ujiri was hired as general
manager and president of basketball operations.
Ujiri insisted at his opening news
conference there would be no problems working with the man who was once
his mentor in Toronto.
“There’s no issue with Bryan Colangelo,” Ujiri said earlier this month. “No issue. None whatsoever. Zero issue. None.”
He did, however, make it clear who was running the team now.
“I’ll take Bryan’s input when I feel
it’s necessary, Wayne (Embry, Raptors senior advisor) has always been a
great mentor to me,” Ujiri said. “But at the end of the day, I’m going
to put my staff together and we’re going to figure this all out
collectively. But basketball decisions are going to be my decisions, so
it doesn’t matter who tells me what or how it’s done, at the end of the
day, I’m sitting right here on the hot seat.”
Ujiri, who worked under Colangelo as
Toronto’s assistant GM from 2008-10, signed what was reported to be a
five-year, $15 million deal with the Raptors this month. Ujiri, who was voted the 2013 NBA Executive of the Year, left his post as GM of the Denver Nuggets to come to Toronto.
Colangelo won that award in 2007 when
the Raptors won their only Atlantic Division title in franchise history.
He also won it in 2005 in Phoenix, where he built a playoff contender
for a Suns franchise that was formerly run by his father, USA Basketball
chairman Jerry Colangelo.
Colangelo spent 15 years with the Suns, the last 11 as general manager, and oversaw the drafting of players such as Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudemire as well as the signing of Steve Nash. He resigned his position in early 2006 to take over as president and GM of the Raptors.