USA’s National Basketball Association (NBA) current champions, Toronto Raptors’ president, Masai Ujiri has downplayed likely ripple effects of the shock exit by one of the team’s top players, Kawhi Leonard this month.
Although many NBA gurus believe Raptors will be short changed for their title defence, Ujiri, a Nigerian ex-international, believes the club will cope, as they intend to bring in some new talents as well.
Ujiri spoke at Las Vegas Summer League on Tuesday, for the first time since Leonard’s departure, and went on to declare that the team has a strong perspective that goes beyond the star’s free agency decision.
He stated at length: “I think with these things, you are always confident with what you’re doing. The whole process, you know, talks, just communication.
“I was confident. But I understand how free agency is, too, and you base things on some of the things we’ve done and you’re biased a little bit.
“We won the championship, it went well, blah blah blah, but I know I’m not naive to that. Free agency doesn’t change.
“He definitely has our blessings, he gave it everything while he was with us, and we really appreciated that.
“I communicated with him afterwards and it was very good and I think we got a great deal out of this. We won a championship.
So I’m happy and honestly it’s onto the next, you know? This is the NBA and this is how it works. I always say, there’s no time to go out.
“I can’t cry, can’t go hide under a table and cry. Honestly, I’ve lost no sleep, not disappointed, it’s onto the next.
“I’m telling Raptors fans and everybody, don’t lose one day of sleep, one second of sleep, we’re going to be just fine. We’re going to be alright.
“I think our team is set up well, I’m confident with the guys that we have. Obviously, going forward, I think we have the requirements of what a team needs to tackle what’s next.
“Whether it’s cap space in the future or all our draft picks and I just have the confidence in our scouts. Bobby, Dan, Teresa, Keith, all these guys, Patrick, that scout around the world looking for talent.
“I know the young guys on our team will develop. We’ve created, I think, a place where people want to come and play.
“An atmosphere, a strong organization and I think strong coaching. We’re very confident about that. That’s why I’m very confident.”