Raptors GM Talks DeRozan, Casey, Offseason

Speaking to the media today at his season-ending press conference, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri admitted that he’s not sure “how possible it is” to bring back all of the team’s free agents, including both DeMar DeRozan and Bismack Biyombo (Twitter links via Raptors reporter Eric Koreen). Ujiri stressed that the team wants to bring back both of its top free agents, but cautioned that “sometimes those things are difficult or challenging.”

Asked specifically about the possibility of offering DeRozan a max contract this summer, Ujiri deflected the inquiry, suggesting that it’s a question to answer at a later time. The GM did say that DeRozan will be the Toronto’s top priority this offseason, however (Twitter links via Koreen).

Here’s more from Ujiri’s session with local reporters:

  • In the wake of the Raptors’ Game 6 loss to the Cavaliers, a report surfaced indicating that Toronto is expected to offer head coach Dwane Casey a new contract. Ujiri confirmed that today, suggesting that he has been in touch with Casey’s agent and expects a deal to get done sooner rather than later (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of TSN).
  • Last week, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote that Casey likely would have lost his job if the Raptors had lost to Indiana in the first round of the postseason. Today, Ujiri deflected that subject, telling reporters that he can’t say what would have happened in that scenario, since the team ultimately didn’t lose the series (Twitter link via Koreen).
  • Ujiri acknowledged that power forward is a position the Raptors need to improve, indicating that the team will get creative there (Twitter link via Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun). Getting a solid backup at the three is another priority for Toronto, per Ujiri (Twitter link via Sportsnet’s Michael Grange).
  • Raptors coaches may not want to add two first-round rookies to the roster, according to Ujiri, who said today that he’s open to any moves involving the ninth and 27th overall draft picks (Twitter link via Koreen).
  • Per Ujiri, Raptors ownership has always given him the freedom to enter tax territory with the team’s payroll — the GM is waiting until it makes sense to do so (Twitter link via Wolstat).
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