Masai Ujiri Rumors
At the trade deadline, the Raptors flipped him to the Sacramento Kings for Malachi Richardson in a move aimed more at avoiding the luxury tax than improving the roster. There was plenty to learn from the experiment and optimism that Caboclo could still succeed elsewhere, it just wasn’t going to happen with the Raptors. “It was difficult for us because I just thought it was time,” president Masai Ujiri said. “We started the right process a little late, which is something we failed at but I think we’ll learn from. At some point, I think there needed to be some separation where he goes and learns something different somewhere else.
But though DeRozan admitted he no longer owns a home in Toronto, the fans sent a clear message to their former All-Star. Toronto will always be home. He’s done too much in his time living in the city for it not to be labeled another home. And though it’s clear DeRozan still isn’t satisfied with the way things transpired last summer after he was sent to the Spurs in a trade for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, and has yet to communicate with Raptors president Masai Ujiri, one day even that beef will end. “Time does heal everything,” DeRozan said. “That doesn’t mean it’s going to go back to the same way that it was. I’m fine with that. I moved on. I’m happy where I’m at.”
The NBA and FIBA, the sport’s world governing body, announced on all-star weekend the creation of the Basketball Africa League that will commence play in 2020. It is another step in Ujiri’s dream about the growth of the game, a dream more than a decade in the formation. “It’s going to open up so many things,” the Raptors president said Tuesday. “It is so important.”
Ujiri will have some role in the new league, of that there is no question. He has worked too long at the grassroots level to not be heavily involved. “I think this league will really enhance the game on the continent,” he said.
Ujiri believes the arrival of the Basketball Africa League will bring much more than basketball to Africa and described it as “a movement.” “It’s going to create more jobs,” Ujiri said. “It’s going to create more opportunity for people. If you look at the NBA and how many jobs it creates and revenue and how it brings people together, we need that on the continent.”
“I had a very good conversation with Kyle, and rumours are rumours, to be honest,” Ujiri said after joking that the media corps was looking pretty tired after waiting all day for the NBA to make the trades official. “I see no issues, honestly, with him. Zero. We’re good, and I think his mind is focused on this run. Obviously he had little battles with his back and he’s trying to get back to where he was before, and I think maybe we should take time and acknowledge that from when we came here, and this is all credit to him,” he said.
The vibes out of Toronto over the past six weeks have been just a little off. The relationship between Kyle Lowry and Masai Ujiri is clearly not hunky-dory. It never has been. Lowry misses DeMar DeRozan. I’m not sure any of that bleeds onto the floor. Lowry will play his game when it matters. But back injuries and Leonard’s load management have short-circuited Toronto’s chances to build chemistry. Marc Gasol is an undeniable upgrade, but he further unsettles their rotation.