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Recap Of Masai Ujiri Introduction Presser

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Denver Nuggets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri named 2012-2013 NBA Executive of the Year

Raptors Cage briefs you on the Masai Ujiri introduction press conference. You are welcome. 

Quotes From Tim Leiweke 
“I want to thank everyone for the warm welcome, tell everyone how honored I am to be here, to be part of this great organization, and how excited I am about not just the organization but all the teams.”

“This is not an organization that wants to make the playoffs, this is an organization that would like to win championships.”

“We understood that we needed fresh new thinking, dynamic thinking, and leadership in order to get us to where we want to go to.”

“We set our sights on bringing in a new leader, a new chemistry and culture for the organization. And when we set our sights, we decided to set our sights high. We were very fortunate, there were a lot of people who were interested. In fact we were overwhelmed by the interest we received. But there was one person we focused on. And many people in the league said you’ll never get him. He’s the NBA EOY, there’s no way someone like that will leave an organization that good and come to Toronto.”

“People want to come to this organization, people want to come to this city, and if you don’t believe it, look at the two guys sitting at this podium. We both wanted to be here and we’re both over the moon to be part of this organization.”

“not only going to lead the charge on a lot of initiatives including branding, but he’ll be there to advise and give input when Masai asks for it.” – on Colangelo’s new role

“We have to honor the tradition and history of what the Raptors are but we also need to hear the fans. We have a very important anniversary coming up, and we have some events we want to win. And that’ll be part of what we do to celebrate our 20th anniversary. we’re committed to changing the culture here, on and off the court.” – on re-branding the Raptors

“What we wanted is the best and the brightest. What we wanted is young, energetic, driven, focused leadership. We want to change our day to day energy in this organization. We want him to go build a staff to do the best and brightest for the NBA. We want him to create a culture for the NBA about the enthusiasm and excitement for where we’re going. What I agree with him on, and the only thing we see as success, is winning the NBA championship. We both agree that having this concept of if we make the playoffs, that’s all we need to do here? Neither of us is interested in that. This ownership, Masai and his staff, is focused on one thing: the NBA championship. We’re not going to direct the road, just the destination.”

Quotes From Masai Ujiri

“I’m home, I love this place”

“I don’t care what people say about Toronto…Canada…it’s a beautiful place. We have the resources. It’s up to us to so our jobs”

“An identity is what we need”

“We will all be on the same page and have the same goals”

“There are some good pieces on this roster and there are some things we have to correct”

“Basketball decisions are going to be my decisions, it doesn’t tell me who tells me what”

“Unbelievable city, unbelievable people- what do people complain about?”

“The goal is not to make the playoffs. The goal is to win a Championship”

“I’m going to speak straight from the heart. I’m home. I came home. It was a tough decision to leave Denver. It was an easy decision for me to come here.”

“I’m pumped. I’m excited. This is a stage that I’ve always wanted in my life.”

“Someway, somehow, this was meant to be and I’m here and I’m going to try to help this organization to get where we are. It’s going to take patience. IT’s going to take will. We’re going to instill a passion to win. The overall goal in the NBA is to win a championship. That has to be the overall goal. It’s not playoffs. It’s to win a championship in the end.”

“Sometimes it’s going to be tough, sometimes it’s going to be hard, but overall guys I think we’re in a good place.”

“I don’t care what people say about Toronto, Canada, all that stuff. It’s a beautiful place here. You’ve got beautiful fans, great ownership, great resources, so it’s left to us to do our job and to do it very well.”

 “At a certain time, I think we’ll be able to tell where this roster can go. I think there are good pieces on this roster. There are phenomenal players on this roster. And then, we have some things that we have to correct.” 

 “We will all be on the same page. And have the same goal. So once I put my staff together, I’ll be able to tell you guys what direction we are going, and how we intend to go forward with this team.”

“Bryan brought me here, and Bryan believed in me. I know there have been tough times, that he’s gone through, and I know this is a tough transition. I’ve been in contact with Bryan. Guys, I’m on the seat now, and I’ll take Bryan’s input when I feel it’s necessary.”

“It doesn’t matter who tells me what or how it’s done, at the end of the day, I’m sitting right here on the hot seat. So it really doesn’t matter.”

“Casey’s under contract for one more year. I’m going to discuss and talk to Casey. We’ve already had some good conversations. For me, DC has done a great job, but I need to sit down with coach and figure out what his philosophies are and what he’s thinking for the future of this team.”

“We have to create that atmosphere here where players want to be here. And that starts with the team, it starts with the culture. It’s an unbelievable city, unbelievable people. What else do you need? What do people complain about?”

“When you grow young kids,Canada’s in a great place, with great young players coming up. I talk to Jay Triano all the time. He’s coaching Canada now with the youth teams and all the young players coming up. It’s a good place for basketball here. So one of my philosophies is to develop young talent. And maybe the back of our roster has to be young guys that grow.”

Q: You leave a team that has 57 wins, and come to a team that’s never won 50 games. Why do you say this is home and this is where you want to be, when you have an 18-year disaster here? (LOL of a question)

A: For me, why can’t I change it? It’s easy to make excuses. I can come here and say he didn’t want to come here because it’s Toronto, he didn’t want to come here because of this or that. Guess what? That’s an excuse to me.

“I think I was fortunate to learn from four different GMs who had four different styles. First of all, John Gabriel in Orlando, and then Kiki Vandeweghe, Mark Warkentein and BC. For me, scouting is my background so finding talent is what I know.”My wife won’t like this much but I’m always out on the road, I’m always trying to figure it out, regardless of who’s seen the talent or which of our scouts see the talent.”

“Do I think I’m better? Yes. Do I think I’m still learning? Yes. Do I think I can do it? Yes.”

“I’m going to keep a small staff. I believe in small.”
“There’s no issue with BC. None, whatsoever. I don’t know how to help you guys if there’s something you want to create. There’s zero issue. None. OK?”

“I think Bryan did a good job with some of the young pieces here.”

Here’s what I got from it…

Ujiri is very well spoken (like Colangelo), however he was very straight forward, genuine and emotional. He seemed to love Toronto, and seemed more down to earth and personable than most executives you typically see.

The content he provided was very broad, nothing too specific. He didn’t say anything wrong, but didn’t give any hints about the future, or tell us too much. We do know however, once the staff is in place we will find out more. I’m looking forward to it, Masai.

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