Raptors Cage

Ujiri, Casey End of Season Presser Recap

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MASAI

After inking a 3 year extension, Dwane Casey came to speak with the media along with Masai Ujiri before the Toronto Raptors’ offseason officially kicks off. I guess I’ll provide another recap.

Masai Ujiri 

  • Bittersweet ending to season, looking to continue to grow
  • Apologized again for the F— Brooklyn, thanked fans once again
  • Wished Brooklyn all the best – NO Masai, NO!
  • Said Casey should ‘introduce him to Jason Kidd’ (because he said he didn’t know who Masai was in response to F Brooklyn)
  • No crazy, quick fix decisions
  • Plan on making the ‘right decisions’
  • Feels like the core of this team should continue, congratulated Casey on extension
  • Says they need to map out summer to ensure young players improve
  • Keeping our core group with Lowry, Vasquez, Patterson, Nando are priorities – kept emphasizing building continuity
  • Vasquez was out for dinner with Drake last night… ok..?
  • Will be important to attack draft as hard as they can, and once free agency comes ‘attack our guys first’
  • Retaining Kyle is very important, a huge key to success – it is tough to negotiate when one party does not share interest, but believes both parties want to get deal done – will be fair with Kyle and figure it out, are optimistic about him returning
  • Need to ‘stand as an organization, city, country, and compete’
  • We respect all the teams but come October we don’t like them
  • Talks about Vince Carter signing – can’t comment as he’s still on the Mavs, but going to ‘go through that process’ (whatever that means)
  • Going to be tons of names looked at – however no quick fixes, going to grow gradually
  • Going to figure out what they need – a bigger wing, shot blocker could be two things to target but no decision has been made on Hansbrough and Salmons (who have buyout options)
  • Thanked Colangelo again for bringing in the majority of the core

Dwane Casey 

  • Thanked Masai, MLSE etc for giving him the opportunity
  • Masai made expectations clear and set the tone
  • Had each player sign a document ‘committing to the team, process, leaving their egos at the door’ – Lowry was the first one to sign it
  • Says Terrence Ross has to get strong this summer, especially after seeing Joe Johnson outmuscle him
  • ‘This process’ was all about building the future
  • “We expect to get to the playoffs at minimum, we all have to get better including coaching staff”
  • “We can talk about playoffs now, we are at that level – are they going to stub their toes? Yes. The roller coaster with young players needs to be minimized.”
  • Jonas working with Hakeem will be great – he works hard but working with Hakeem will take him to the next level
  • DeMar needs to build a stronger base to help defensive stance, etc
  • Kyle needs to come back 100% healthy – so he is coming back, right Dwane?
  • Patterson needs to come back re-signed with a stronger post game
  • Brooklyn is built for today, not much growth ahead compared to us
  • Says fans were unbelievable – the best in the league, not even close – better than fans during championship run in Dallas
  • Another great Casey analogy (lol)- Kyle came into a situation where there was already a girlfriend (Jose), difficult situation where Jose and him had a good relationship
  • Came into the situation as a second fiddle, trust grew after Jose was traded, is still growing
  • Plans on going over every tough game the Raps had to analyze it, which will allow himself to get better
  • Talked a bit about the hilarious subway incident – says there were plenty of empty seats, so taking two seats was ok

Overall Impressions

Once again, the team chemistry was evident. You can sure as hell bet Masai is going to try and bring back the core of this group. While he didn’t admit it, I can almost guarantee Salmons will be gone. The offseason likely won’t be that exciting – expect the re-signing of the guys mentioned, and maybe a couple new veteran faces. However, everyone seems optimistic about the future – something that the Raptors franchise really hasn’t seen for quite a while.

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