Masai Ujiri On Lowry, Casey, Hayes

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri‘s phone isn’t making much noise, but he’s not turning it off, either. Ujiri tells Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun that he’ll be listening to trade offers that come in between now and Thursday’s deadline. The Raptors are 28-24, good for third place in the Eastern Conference, but the team’s performance hasn’t altered Ujiri’s timetable for putting the club in title contention, Ganter notes. Ujiri also spoke with Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, and we’ll pass along the best of both pieces here:

On whether he’s open to trading Kyle Lowry or any other player:

“I hate to comment about any player in that way, but I think we are not good enough so you have to keep it open. That’s the honest answer. These guys have done pretty good. I know we’ve won a couple of games but we haven’t done anything yet. We’ll keep trying to grow.”

On coach Dwane Casey, whom Ujiri says has done “an excellent job”:

“When we talked about it with Casey when I came on, it was something like where I said we are going to assess the whole season and for me, my evaluation was not wins and losses at all. For me, you almost put a coach under pressure where he’s trying to do things. It wasn’t only the growth of the players. It was the growth of the coaches and the growth of us working together as a front office … I don’t just mean, ‘How did Terrence (Ross) grow or Jonas (Valanciunas) grow?’. How did we all grow working together? How are we all growing together? How do we interact, how do we communicate with front office, coaches, players? That’s our job here. We’re not always going to agree but we have to find a way to communicate and make a decision on things.”

On whether he sensed the December trade that shipped Rudy Gay to the Kings would be so beneficial to the Raptors:

“When we did the trade, we honestly didn’t know which way it would go so we were preparing for either way. Obviously, you do background, you check on attitude, you check on good teammate, you check on off-the-court habits and that stuff. Even some of that information, you can only get so much that’s accurate and so much that’s not but we tried to just do our homework, due diligence like everyone does. You bring in someone like (Greivis) Vasquez who can maybe (play) as a starter in the pinch. I think (Patrick) Patterson is a young big in the league and you’re intrigued by some of the little things he does. I think (John) Salmons is older but brings a steady calm and, you know what? Chuck Hayes? I didn’t know what Chuck Hayes had left but (as) a post-defender and leader and anchor type in pinch minutes on defense, I think he’s shown us he can be (of) some help.”

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