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April 30, 2015 Updates
April 29, 2015 Updates

Dwane Casey has done wonderful things in Toronto, but this was not a good series for him, and it’s unclear if he’ll be back next season, per league sources, even though he’s under contract. Ujiri will listen to inquiries about every player, but those expecting a fire sale should remember: Ujiri didn’t build a pristine trade record by acting desperately — not even when Carmelo and LaLa had him over a barrel. Grantland

There was no open suggestion that Dwane’s job is in jeopardy, just as there was no open suggestion that it isn’t. The met Monday, they met Tuesday and they are to meet today and I would suspect once concerns on both sides are raised and discussed – heatedly, I would think – they will emerge united and ready to move on. Toronto Star

April 28, 2015 Updates

Eric Koreen: On Pierce: "I believe in those old-school guys. They're phenomenal. They want to cut your head off. … It was my way of supporting our team." Twitter @ekoreen

Slumped in his chair at the Air Canada Centre on Monday, Johnson cringed at the suggestion this year’s record-setting Raptors could see some core players swap jerseys in the coming months. “I don’t really want to think about it, man. I hope we have everybody back,” Johnson said. “I haven’t heard anything or made any decisions yet. We just got to sit down and talk about it, and everything will play out this summer.” Toronto Star

Valanciunas did not have the breakout season that the Raptors hoped, and looked overmatched against Washington’s Marcin Gortat and Nene. His development came in fits and starts, and his place in the modern NBA is uncertain, given the abundance of fast guards and small lineups. Still, from a pure supply-and-demand perspective, Valanciunas is extremely valuable: a 7-footer who can protect the rim, score in the post and hit his free throws. The Raptors will likely explore extending him. National Post

A number of teammates were asked versions of the same thing, a natural question given how things ended. Most of them managed to make it sound like they would be cool with it. "I know Case gets a lot of flak, [but] Case is a great coach," said DeMar DeRozan. "I’ve got to give him credit, he pushes us day in and day out [and] like I said, it could be one little thing. It’s like a Rubik’s Cube, you just got to find the right side to get everything else going." SportsNet

Said Pat Patterson: "Coach Casey is definitely a guy who’s always going to tell it as it is. He’s not going to sugarcoat things and that’s what we needed for us, especially in the second half of the season." SportsNet

But given the chance, Lowry stalled. He diminished the club’s hot start as a product of being ahead of the curve coming out of training camp, suggesting that when other teams got up to their speed, the Raptors got caught. He spoke vaguely of "things internally that probably need to be fixed." And he didn’t exactly bubble over with enthusiasm regarding Casey: "I respect Casey as a man. He’s a hell of a guy," said Lowry, who played four of his worst games of the season against Washington, on the heels of slump in production that began in earnest in the early days of the 2015. "[But] at the end of the day, like I said, it’s not my choice, not my decision. At the end of the day, yeah, if he’s the coach, I’m a player. I’ve said that a couple of years now. At the end of the day, whoever the coach is, if he’s the coach, then I’ll be back playing for coach Casey." SportsNet

Those who know Lowry say that it would be wrong to put too much emphasis on what he said or how he said it. Lowry and coaches have always been territory rich for head butting, but by all accounts Lowry and Casey had a positive end-of-season meeting, and if they weren’t always sending affectionate texts, were able to work together. SportsNet

April 27, 2015 Updates

As long as the Raps can re-sign Williams at a palatable number of his own, it's believed they want him back as well, no matter how badly they need frontcourt upgrades. Which speaks to the sort of splash Williams made in his first season in Canada, arriving via trade with Atlanta on the day before free agency commenced last summer and going on to win the league's highest honor for reserves. ESPN.com


Nasty break-up and all, Air Canada is the best thing that ever happened to the Toronto Raptors.


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