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Patience may be the key for Raptors new general manager Ujiri

With Ujiri now officially the Raptors GM, a lot still remains to be decided.


It was announced yesterday evening that Masai Ujiri had indeed accepted the hefty offer from Tim Leiweke and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to become the new general manager of the Toronto Raptors.

(For more of the specific details, both Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and Michael Grange over at Sportsnet, summed things up pretty well with their pieces yesterday.)

Ujiri, the reigning Executive of the Year in the NBA, was very successful during his time in Denver. His most notable move was one that landed a package of players including Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari in exchange for disgruntled superstar Carmelo Anthony - a much larger haul than what Bryan Colangelo was able to receive for former Raptors star Chris Bosh.

In Ujiri, the Raptors are getting a fresh face with proven team-constructing experience. These are things that this franchise is in desperate need of.

The biggest problem now is that Ujiri will inherit a team that, despite possessing some talent, is by no means a championship contending team and, even worse, is facing very serious cap constraints.

There is no obvious -- read: easy -- move that Ujiri can, or needs to make in order to put his imprint on this team.

There are a couple players on the roster that would seem to be as close as possible to untouchable -- those players are Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas

Aside from those two players, the roster consists of either marginal players -- Kleiza, Gray and Lucas III -- players that should probably be moved but wont be easy to move because of their salaries - DeRozan, Gay and Fields -- and a wildcard -- Lowry.

And then there is Andrea Bargnani -- another problem with no real easy solution short of using the amnesty clause and even that comes with its potential drawbacks.

Given the lack of easy answers or avenues for immediate change -- a situation much different than the one Colangleo walked into in 2006 -- the new Raptors GM may simply decide that being patient is the best way to deal with the situation at hand.

The most telling piece of information about the whole hiring process is the fact that Leiweke was willing to give Ujiri a five-year deal.

With that five-year deal in hand, Ujiri now has the luxury of being able to survey his team, gain a good understanding of what he is working with in terms of assets and make the necessary moves at the right times in order to get this team back on track.

This strategy would seem to be the smart one and the opposite of the one Colangelo has been utilizing for the last six years.

It is interesting now that a plan that was deemed almost complete by the team's former general manager has become the beginning stage of another possible five year plan for the new boss in the front office.

The thought of another five years spent rebuilding is not at all palatable, particularly for a fanbase that has been starved of any real success for the last four years.

But, with the right man at the helm of this franchise, being patient seems like not only the right move, but a move that will payoff significantly in the future.

Having confidence that the most competent man is in charge of the team should be enough to give Raptors fans least for the time being.