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Raptors' Colangelo working on small deals ahead of deadline

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The Canadian Press
2/23/2011 8:00:53 PM
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TORONTO -- As Thursday's NBA trade deadline approached, Toronto Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo wasn't planning to have any major additions to his lineup.

"We're still working on a few things, mostly small," Colangelo said Wednesday before the Raptors faced Chicago. "Not a lot of major significant things."

Colangelo did acquire James Johnson from the Bulls in a trade on Tuesday and the small forward started Wednesday's game against his former team.

Johnson was a player the Raptors might have drafted two years ago if DeMar DeRozan, the player they ended up selecting in the first round, had not been available at No. 9. The Bulls drafted Johnson 16th and Colangelo said he had a deal to drop in the draft to take Johnson if DeRozan had not been available.

The Raptors dealt the first-round pick they received from Miami in the Chris Bosh deal to get Johnson.

It all fits in with Toronto's rebuilding plan. With an uncertain labour situation that might make some players stay in school rather than take a chance in the draft, Colangelo feels the Heat's first-round pick that could be as low as 28th -- a spot that wouldn't likely yield a player as good as Johnson.

"We've taken a very strong look at this draft," Colangelo said. "It's not a great draft by star quality standards but there are what I'd call a lot of impact players potentially up at the top."

Colangelo said his own unresolved contract issue with the Raptors is not a factor in how he goes about business.

"We've talked about this rebuilding process," he said. "We've got a plan in place we're talking about bringing in young players, bringing in young assets, creating more flexibility as much as possible so we can be a player in free agency.

"We did not want to compromise that situation. There have been some deals from the start of the season to now even that probably would have made us more competitive by now.

"There was a commitment to being patient, letting the young guys develop and come along. We feel like we're accomplishing a lot of that. We've got the stages of this development happening and we've made tangible progress."

He said if he had done a deal to bring "more veteran talent to put us in a playoff competitive environment and yet kept us in neutral so to speak" it would have hampered the plan.

Add to that the Raptors' own high draft pick this year and the salary cap flexibility that has been achieved.

"It's all kind of set up for this next jump but there's some painful steps along the way and we're experiencing that with the win-loss record," said Colangelo.

The Raptors entered Wednesday's game with a 15-42 record.

Bryan Colangelo (Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)
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