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Maurizio Gherardini Lead Candidate To Replace Thorn?

Mitch Lawrence and Frank Isola of the Daily News report that Mikhail Prokhorov is targeting Raptor Assistant GM Maurizio Gherardini to replace Rod Thorn.

Gherardini has been Bryan Colangelo's deputy in Toronto for four years after being hired away from Benetton Treviso, the Italian League powerhouse that produced, among others, Andrea Bargnani and Mike D'Antoni. In 2006, Prokhorov tried to hire Gheradini for CSKA Moscow but was outbid by the Raptors. Gherardini is under contract for another year, but the Raptors would not stand in his way.

Thorn has yet to confirm widespread reports that he is stepping down. He has said that his relationship with Prokhorov has been excellent.  According to reports, Thorn will leave July 15, when the bulk of free agent decisions have been made.