The Raptors may go down as the league's unlikeliest champions, which is why their story is worth remembering
June 14, 2019, 2:40 amMasai UjiriTeam, Toronto Raptors
The Wizards are preparing to offer up to $10 million annually in an effort to lure Raptors President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri to Washington.
It has been rumored that the Wizards want Ujiri to head up their operations, and Adrian Wojnarowski is also reporting that the offer may include the opportunity for ownership equity. It would be quite a task to rebuild the Wizards considering their roster and cap sheet, but Ujiri was able to build up the Nuggets and deliver Toronto an NBA championship. We'll see if Ujiri would leave the Raptors after reaching the summit, or if the Raptors would be willing to match Washington's aggressive deal.
July 20, 2018, 4:27 pmMasai UjiriTeam, Toronto Raptors
ESPN's Ian Begley is hearing from executives around the league that the Raptors are still looking to shed salary.
The additions of Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard actually added to Toronto's cap next season, and they're still looking to get under the luxury tax if possible. The added depth on the wings might make Norman Powell expendable, and teams around the league might have a little interest in a high-character wing with two-way potential despite a slightly bloated contract. Toronto would probably love to shed Serge Ibaka's deal but most of the talks coming from other organizations figure to center on younger, cheaper pieces. The Raptors may not be done tinkering just yet.
Source: Ian Begley on Twitter
June 21, 2018, 6:10 pmMasai UjiriTeam, Toronto Raptors
Michael Grange of Sportsnet is hearing that the Raptors are "open for business" and would be willing to shake up their core.
Pretty much all of the starters besides OG Anunoby have been put through the rumor mill already, though between Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas, it's DeRozan who has the most value. Norman Powell is also on the block, but if Toronto wants to get into the lottery (as has been reported by multiple outlets) it looks like DeRozan will be the one to take the fall. Grange makes the Clippers (picks 12 and 13) connection for the L.A. native, who may relish an opportunity to return to home with his father in poor health.
June 21, 2018, 3:12 pmMasai UjiriTeam, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors and Rockets have been identified as teams trying to trade into the middle of the first round of Thursday's draft.
Marc Stein of the New York Times previously reported that the Raptors would like to swing a deal and select Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is expected to go as high as sixth and as low as the middle of the round. It's not surprising that the Rockets are trying to add young talent on rookie contracts so as to help soothe their cap sheet going forward. We'll see if either team can get a deal done tonight.
Source: The Athletic
June 14, 2018, 4:18 pmMasai UjiriTeam, Toronto Raptors
At Nick Nurse's introductory press conference on Thursday, Masai Ujiri said that the Raptors are open for business as the current roster isn't perfect for the level of innovation the team wants to achieve.
No surprises there, and Nurse later said that he's a fan of both Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas but didn't guarantee that they'd be back next season. The Raptors' hire of Nurse signals that they want to lean further into the egalitarian style that made them so effective last season, but their personnel isn't quite tailor-made for that goal. Toronto would probably try and trade Serge Ibaka first and foremost but there's no doubt that Lowry, Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan have more trade value. The Raptors may look pretty different come opening night.
Source: Ryan Wolstat on Twitter
June 6, 2018, 5:59 pmMasai UjiriTeam, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have interviewed Zalgiris head coach and ex-NBA player Zarunas Jasikevicius for their vacant head coaching position, per Adrian Wojnarowski.
Jasikevicius is a star in the European coaching ranks and is coming off a season where he led Zalgiris to the EuroLeague Final Four. The general consensus appears to be that Zalgiris lacked talent and athleticism but got by on the back of hard work and Jasikevicius' system. Wojnarowski goes on to add that assistant Nick Nurse and Spurs assistants Ime Udoka and Ettore Messina are still being strongly considered, but Ujiri is undoubtedly casting a wide net in his search for the next coach. Somewhat shockingly, this is the first time in his career as an executive that he's overseen a coaching search. It's not at all shocking, however, to see that he's examining "off board" options in an effort to lay all the options before him before making his next move.
May 9, 2018, 4:08 pmMasai UjiriTeam, Toronto Raptors
When asked about tanking Raptors GM Masai Ujiri said, "We're not doing that here."
The Raptors are the talk of the town at the moment because of their lackluster performance in the 2nd round of the playoffs. The tone of the press conference indicates that the Raptors are more inclined to tweak their roster than to do a total overhaul. It will be an interesting offseason for the Raptors as they look to figure out how to translate regular season success into playoff success.
Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter
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