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Masai to JV: “You Are Way Better Than Drummond”

You’ve got to respect that belief, especially when it comes from the president.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Toronto Raptors Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

While it seems like only yesterday we were wondering if the Raptors would trade their starting centre Jonas Valanciunas, in last night’s episode of Open Gym we got a very different story.

Here’s JV as he meets up with team president Masai Ujiri at the BioSteel Centre. You can feel the, hmmm, emotional tension?

Both men know things were cooking at the trade deadline — the Raptors did make two moves that week. But happily (I mean, come on, look at JV’s smile), neither involved Valanciunas.

Of course the main takeaway here isn’t that Masai didn’t trade JV at the deadline. That didn’t feel possible regardless of the situation the Raptors were in. (Not even for DeMarcus Cousins, a deal that was never really on the table anyway.) No, the best thing to embrace in this clip is Ujiri’s casual dismissal — on camera! — of the Detroit Pistons’ All-Star big man Andre Drummond. Gotta love that belief (even if some of you think it misguided).

Look again at Jonas’ thanks. The big man gets it.

As an aside, let’s remember this clip in the summer when it becomes clearer whether or not the Raptors will have to trade Jonas. At the very least, we know for certain no deal for Drummond will ever be forthcoming.

You can watch the entire episode of Open Gym here.