After the disappointment of a first round sweep, Toronto Raptors fans are rightfully frothing at the mouth for organizational change. The man behind the decision-making this summer is, of course, general manager Masai Ujiri, who held his season-ending press conference today at the Air Canada Centre.
Let's get this out of the way: the biggest news to come out of the press conference is that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is in advanced talks with the NBA to purchase a D-League affiliate for the Raptors.
Masai Ujiri says the MLSE board has approved the idea of purchasing a D-League team. Huge for Bruno, Bebe and future rookies.— Raptors Watch (@Raptors_Watch) April 28, 2015
Masai: this means Bruno is going to get an opportunity. Bebe is going to get an opportunity. whoever our rookie is this year will get an opp— Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) April 28, 2015
Masai lamented the lack of playing time for Bruno Caboclo, but says his work in the gym has started to pay off as he develops an NBA body.
Bruno went from 207 to 220.— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) April 28, 2015
Anyone looking for more insight from the GM will be disappointed. He was non-committal on head coach Dwane Casey's future.
"You guys know me: There's no knee-jerk reaction here." That's all you need to know about this presser— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) April 28, 2015
Masai's not saying yes or no on Casey yet. But: pic.twitter.com/F94m1s3HQp— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) April 28, 2015
Like his head coach, he cited mid-season injuries as a turning point, both in gassing Kyle Lowry and in stunting the team's defense.
Masai blames defensive slippage more on injuries than on Casey. "He was forced to play maybe a certain way to survive (injuries)."— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) April 28, 2015
Masai says when DeMar went down, Lowry may have used all his energy up. He says Lowry remains determined to get back to where he was.— Megan Robinson (@RobinsonMegan) April 28, 2015
"His back was a little hurt. I think he'll get back to being 100 per cent in the summer."— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) April 28, 2015
Do you feel as confident in Lowry now as you did when you re-signed him? Masai: "Oh, yeah. 100 percent. Even more confident"— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) April 28, 2015
For those looking to read between the lines, Masai seemed more interested in discussing the summer of 2016 than the one upcoming.
"Studying the money in 2016, our flexibility. It’s a good time for us, that’s the best way to put it. Putting ourselves in good position."— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) April 28, 2015
"It's very important that our franchise and our team becomes relevant. We feel like we're getting there, that we can attract some players."— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) April 28, 2015
Finally, he apologized for his foul mouth before the playoffs, but didn't lament calling out Paul Pierce.
"I got scolded by the commissioner, I got scolded by my wife, by Wayne Embry. I’ve learned my lesson. The playoffs is all about the players.— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) April 28, 2015
Masai said like Pierce, he’s a competitor. What he doesn’t say: Raptors didn’t have enough people like him.— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) April 28, 2015
Given the press conference was just two days after the end of the season, it's difficult to expect much from Masai Ujiri. Over and over, he said that the next two weeks would be an important time for evaluating every Toronto Raptor - coaches and players alike. He repeated the words "patience" and "building". Beyond that and the D-League news, there isn't much to be gleaned.
What are your thoughts on Masai's quotes? Are you hopeful for change this upcoming offseason?