Raptors Notes: Leiweke, Ujiri, Valanciunas

Raptors head coach Dwane Casey is high on offseason pickup Dwight Buycks and says that he’s better than any of the guards selected in the late first round or second round of June’s draft.  If that’s true, the Raptors made a heck of a deal when they gave him a deal worth $700K in July.  The Marquette product has bounced around France, Belgium, and the D-League, but it looks like he has a home in Toronto.  Here’s more on the Raptors.

  • Raptors president Tim Leiweke is confident that the club is headed towards becoming a serious and relevant franchise, writes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.  “We’ve made it clear to all of our players, we’re going to win championships here,” Leiweke told season ticket holders. “I believe in Masai [Ujiri]. My trust, my faith is in this man. He’s going to lead us to the next level, and he will lead us to a championship here in Toronto.”
  • Meanwhile, Ujiri says that the club will make more of an effort to scout Canadian basketball because it has improved so much.  Of course, the top prospect in the 2014 draft, Andrew Wiggins, comes from north of the border.
  • In today’s mailbag, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star is asked if the Raptors need to fix their backup center situation with Jonas Valanciunas still developing and uninspiring play from Aaron Gray.  Smith would like to see a new backup 5 in Toronto, but he’s not sure where they could find a quality young big since they’re generally unavailable.
  • Zach Lowe of Grantland (Twitter links) wrote that Casey is on the hot seat this year, but he believes that he’s the victim of circumstances and likes him as a coach.

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