After putting together a team that came within two wins of an NBA Finals berth last season, Toronto Raptors president and general manager Masai Ujiri is finally getting the love he deserves.
According to a report by Marc Stein of ESPN on Friday, the Raptors have finalized a multi-year contract extension with Ujiri.
The winner of the 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year Award during his time as a Denver Nuggets executive, Ujiri has worked wonders for the Raptors ever since being hired three years ago. The 46-year-old dealt the contracts of Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay within his first few months on the job, then hammered out extensions for core guys Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, and DeMar DeRozan in consecutive offseasons. He also managed to land Toronto a treasure trove of young talent (drafting Bruno Caboclo, Delon Wright, and Jakob Poeltl and acquiring Lucas Nogueira and Norman Powell) and complemented the roster with savvy free agent signings like DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph.
With the Raptors poised to contend for many years to come, hopefully this means we’re in line for more fiery pre-playoff series speeches from Ujiri.
Image via Toronto Raptors on YouTube
The 20-0 Golden State Warriors continue to cruise through their schedule, and few teams have troubled them.
The Toronto Raptors are one of the handful of teams to lose to Golden State by single digits, so Jim Rome asked their general manager, Masai Ujiri, what you have to do to beat them. Ujiri had a simple response.
Nothing else has worked, so hey, might as well.
The Warriors travel to Toronto Saturday night. Time will tell if the Raptors’ prayers are answered.
Prior to last year’s first round series against the Nets, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri sent fans outside of Air Canada Centre into a frenzy by yelling “F**k Brooklyn!” during a rally. Ujiri was at it again on Saturday.
Paul Pierce recently made comments on the Raptors that, not surprisingly, didn’t sit well in Toronto. Pierce stated he didn’t think the Raptors had the “it” factor that makes you worry during the postseason. He later attempted to clarify the remarks. However, the bulletin board material was already given.
Before Game 1 of the opening round playoff series between the Raptors and Wizards, Ujiri addressed a crowd outside of the arena as he did a year ago. And once again, he got them fired up with an expletive. This time, in response to Pierce’s comments, Ujiri shouted, “We don’t give a s**t about it.”
Ujiri was fined $25,000 for last year’s outburst. Whether he’s forced to cough up money again, of course, remains to be seen. One thing we do know: Ujiri knows how to play to the fans. Next he has to figure out how to help his team win; the Raptors lost Game 1 in overtime to Washington.
Kevin Garnett issued a warning to the Toronto Raptors cautioning them that they may have asked for something they really didn’t want.
At a rally on Saturday prior to Game 1 of the Raptors-Brooklyn Nets series, Toronto executive Masai Ujiri said “F— Brooklyn” when he was firing up the fans. The move may have backfired; not only did they lose Game 1, but Ujiri was fined by the league and now KG says the words will have Brooklyn’s fans even more fired up.
“It’s going to be a rowdy environment — like it should be — I don’t know if you can say ‘F Brooklyn’ and then come into Brooklyn, so we’re about to see what it’s like,” Garnett said after the Nets’ Game 2 loss.
Game 3 in the best of seven series is on Friday. The Nets will have two straight home games for the fans to show how rowdy they are. Based on the way the first two games of the series went, we expect these two to be close, but would give the edge to the Nets. That homecourt advantage should help.
The last time the Toronto Raptors were in the playoffs, Bryan Colangelo was the general manager.
This time around, Masai Ujiri has the position and it didn’t take him long to make his mark on the 2014 NBA Playoffs.
Prior to game 1 of the Raptors’ first round series against the Brooklyn Nets, Ujiri addressed the crowd during a rally outside Air Canada Centre. While doing so, the Raptors’ GM yelled, “F**k Brooklyn!”, much to the delight of those within earshot.
As you can probably imagine, that didn’t go over too well at the league offices. Ujiri originally received a formal warning and no fine was to be forthcoming. After further consideration, a $25,000 fine was levied.
“Just trying to get the crowd out there rattled — wrong choice of words, Ujiri said via ESPN. I apologize to kids out there and to the Brooklyn guys. Nothing against them. Just trying to get our fans going. That’s it.”
Because of the setting, some in the court of public opinion have been lenient with Ujiri’s comment. However, it’s tough to argue with the fine given his position within the franchise.
The last time the Toronto Raptors hosted a playoff game was April 26, 2008, when they lost to the Orlando Magic 106-94 in the first round.
Saturday, fans in Toronto had their nearly six-year wait come to an end as the Brooklyn
Dinosaurs Nets were in town to begin their best-of-seven first round series.
Prior to the game, there was a rally outside Air Canada Centre with thousands of hyped Raptors fans and one hyped general manager. While addressing the crowd, Masai Ujiri yelled a NSFW phrase that sent those in attendance into hysterics.
Tell us how you really feel, Masai.
I think Toronto is glad to have playoff basketball back.
H/T Eye On Basketball