For a man who does not like to reveal the inner workings of his mind, Masai Ujiri certainly has talked a whole bunch since the Raptors’ ouster from the playoffs nine days ago. The Raptors president went on TSN’s OverDrive this afternoon to discuss the state of the team and the future.
Here are some of the key things Ujiri said:
- Masai highlighted his distaste for mid-season trades, but said he felt it was worthwhile in this case because it would give the team access to Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker’s Bird rights. “You need that training camp,” Ujiri said, which suggests he’s not ready to just let everybody walk in free agency.
- Naturally, Ujiri shook off the idea that the Raptors had internally (mentally, emotionally, whatever) decided they could not beat the Cavaliers. And while he wouldn’t define what exactly his “culture reset” comment meant, it seems he’s not exactly looking at a full rebuild just yet.
- My favourite part, re: culture reset, was the understanding that Ujiri came to the Raptors with the same questions. He had Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and coach Dwane Casey, and the team was going nowhere — except then management started thinking differently, moves were made, and a great run of success followed. Ujiri seemed to imply that while it seems impossible to see the current Raptors getting any better than they are right now: it felt the same way four years ago. He’s not wrong.
- Here’s the money quote on Lowry (who is 100 percent going to re-sign):
Ujiri had strong words re: a Bleacher Report story that cites an anonymous Western Conference VP on Lowry not wanting to live in Toronto pic.twitter.com/a7KVIihk6W— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 18, 2017
- And, in true Masai fashion, he preached caution and perspective, ending his interview with calm. “Guys, trust me, it’s not all doomsday. I’m telling you. We’ll be OK.”
(Thanks to Josh Lewenberg of TSN for the transcription.)