Raptors' Masai Ujiri Says There's 'Nothing New' Regarding New Contract with Toronto

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 19, 2021

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 19: Masai Ujiri, President, Toronto Raptors attends the 2020 Audi Innovation Series on June 19, 2020 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Audi Innovation Series)
George Pimentel/Getty Images for Audi Innovation Series

Masai Ujiri told reporters there's "nothing new" as his contract with the Toronto Raptors is due to expire.

"We just finished, so at some point, get with ownership here and sit down and talk," the Raptors president of basketball operations said. "... We're going to weigh a few of the options and just give this thing some deep thought now as I go through this process."

Ujiri added his final decision will likely hinge on forthcoming discussions with ownership.

Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps

Masai Ujiri says his conversations with ownership about what he wants to see change in Toronto will determine whether he decides to return to the Raptors next season.

One would expect Toronto to make every accommodation necessary to keep him in the front office.

The 50-year-old was the architect of the franchise's first championship in 2019, and his decision to swap fan favorite DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard was pivotal toward making that title happen.

The Raptors have consistently been one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, missing the playoffs this year after making seven straight trips to the postseason.

General manager Bobby Webster is highly regarded, but losing Ujiri would be a major blow.

Sportsnet's Michael Grange reported Monday that "there is a mounting confidence that there is a clear path for Ujiri’s return." One source told Grange the odds of him coming back are 95 percent.

The Raptors are likely headed for a transitional phase.

Toronto was snakebitten throughout 2020-21, and having to play its home games in Tampa, Florida, made things difficult. But this year was indicative of how a reset is inevitable.

The team lost Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol in free agency before trading Norman Powell and Terence Davis midseason. Kyle Lowry is a free agent, and his departure would truly signal the end of an era for the franchise.

Perhaps Ujiri would like to start fresh with a new organization, maybe one closer to a championship. The allure of rebuilding the Raptors to make them a contender once again might be just as tantalizing as well.