GM Masai Ujiri accepts responsibility for the team’s late-season collapse, as he made clear today to reporters, including Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star (Twitter link), at his end-of-season press conference.
“The process is sometimes you get kicked in the face,” Ujiri said, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Twitter link). “We got kicked in the face.”
Ujiri doesn’t regret not having made a trade at the deadline, and he insists he won’t make any knee-jerk reactions in the offseason ahead, notes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter link). Still, he isn’t committing to coach Dwane Casey for another season, as we passed along earlier, and with many questions surrounding the team following a disastrous end to the season in Toronto, we’ll round up the rest of the GM’s relevant comments here:
- Jonas Valanciunas is “a huge part of our team” going into the future, Ujiri said, expressing his belief that such big men are still valuable even in an era of small ball, Wolstat relays (Twitter links). “We can criticize Jonas … and it’s a big discussion we’re going to have with coach and the staff, how he was used,” Ujiri also said, as Feschuk tweets.
- Kyle Lowry didn’t maintain his level of play down the stretch, but Ujiri said he’s “even more confident” in the point guard now than when the Raptors re-signed him last season for four years and $48MM, Lewenberg notes (Twitter link).
- The Raptors and the NBA are in advanced talks about arranging a one-to-one D-League affiliate that could be a part of the organization as soon as next year, as Lewenberg relays (on Twitter). The Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment company that owns the Raptors have given the OK for the team to purchase a D-League affiliate, Wolstat tweets.