The Raptors had one of the more bizarre (cursed?) seasons of recent memory. They weathered injuries to players both big and small, roster turnover with exciting trades, and all the ups and downs that come in a typical NBA season, only to find themselves in the same place: killed by LeBron and the Cavaliers.
As is tradition, team president Masai Ujiri always has the last word. He addressed the media today, thus closing the book on the 2016-17 season. While Ujiri is usually tight-lipped and vague about what his plans for the Raptors could be, he did let fly a few nuggets of information to get the Toronto hive buzzing.
Here are the best bits rolling out from Twitter and Toronto’s Raptors beat writers.
First, we’ll go with the headline:
Masai: if I said we were going to do this and this and this, I'd be a bad leader.... Me talking today is absolute BS.— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) May 9, 2017
Er, wait... not that. Here we are:
Blames himself first, but says everyone will be held accountable. "We need a culture reset."— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) May 9, 2017
But what could that mean in the context of losing to the Cavs again, and having an existential crisis in the process? More questions.
Masai on style of play-"We've done it the same over & over again. Is it going to work? The 1-on-1 style we play... we have to question that"— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 9, 2017
Masai: "All I know is what we're doing has not worked and we have to evaluate that. I have to evaluate that"— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 9, 2017
This certainly sounds like Masai will give a thought to Dwane Casey’s status with the Raptors. He’s been with the team for six years, and may have hit his ceiling with where he can take the Raptors. Thoughts?
Ujiri, asked about Casey: "There are things I question. I think our style of play is one of the things we're going to evaluate"— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 9, 2017
"Coach Casey has been a phenomenal part of our success here." Ujiri cont— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) May 9, 2017
And another takeaway from Ujiri: The Raptors will be changing how they play and it sounds like Casey will get a chance to preside over that.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) May 9, 2017
And how’s Casey doing with Kyle Lowry?
"OK they should hold hands and sing around and kiss and we win 30 games. What the hell is that doing for anybody?" - Ujiri on Casey/Lowry— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) May 9, 2017
Kyle and Dwane bump heads. "When it's time to work, they work."— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) May 9, 2017
Speaking of which, what is Masai’s stance on Lowry? Much of the Raptors’ success is because of him, so surely there’s a take.
"It's our jobs to get Kyle back. He's been a huge part of our success here. We want him back."— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) May 9, 2017
Ujiri also noted a few other things. One, that the injury to Lowry down the stretch made it hard to evaluate all of the players on hand. That he has commitment from ownership to either go into the tax, or head in a rebuilding direction.
Finally, Masai confirmed something else that somehow always appears to be true:
"I never leave this thing without saying something crazy." - Masai Ujiri— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) May 9, 2017
Like, for example...
Ujiri says Carroll hasnt been fully healthy since knee surgery, believes he'll have a big summer, confident he can get back to where he was— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 9, 2017
Get ready for an interesting summer.
(Thanks to Eric, Blake, Josh, Michael, and the rest of the reporters on the scene tweeting this stuff out. We’ll have the video up once it becomes available.)