Title: Masai Ujiri declined the Raptors’ ability to use cap space, and there is little wonder why
Date: August 5, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, Eric Koreen and I wrote about the Raptors’ struggles to find value in free agency during this regime.
Let’s get this out of the way: Masai Ujiri and his front office have done very well in Toronto, and continue to operate with the intelligence and patience that would make them the envy of most of the league’s fan bases. You do not win a championship by accident, nor do you finish in the top four of your conference seven straight years, even the 2010’s Eastern Conference, strictly by way of luck. There is a lot more to Ujiri than well-timed motivational speeches.
Disclaimer over. Raptors fans can recall the pivotal moves that underpinned that success: the Rudy Gay trade; the draft night trade that turned Greivis Vasquez into the picks that would become Norman Powell and OG Anunoby; the 2016 draft class, which produced Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam and, technically as an undrafted free agent, Fred VanVleet; the Kawhi Leonard and Marc Gasol trades. The reality is that the Raptors had more talent than it seemed like they had before Ujiri took over, and he shaped the roster masterfully.