The Toronto Raptors have gone since 2008 without making the NBA playoffs and it was obvious that it was time to make some big changes in their organization.
On Tuesday, one big change officially occured when they announced the signing of new general manager Masai Ujiri to the public.
Ujiri – whose deal is reportedly worth $15 million over five years – will take over for Bryan Colangelo and is coming off of a successful tenure with the Denver Nuggets.
Ujiri has experience with the Raptors organization, having been employed by them as the diretor of global scouting as well as assistant GM.
The native of Nigeria gained notoriety as not only an intelligent GM with Denver, but also as the first African-born GM in the big four sports.
Ujiri plans on building a winner in Toronto and preached patience with the media at the press conference.
“It’s going to take patience, it’s going to take will, I want to instill a passion to win,” said Ujiri. “Guys, the overall goal in the NBA is to win a championship, that has to be the overall goal. It’s not playoffs, it’s to win a championship at the end.”
“At the end of the day, I’m a basketball guy and I want to put a product out there that’s going to compete one day for a championship. Sometimes it’s going to be tough, sometimes it’s going to be hard but overall, we’re in a good place.”
Ujiri did not discuss the future of any players – such as the struggling Andrea Bargnani – but he did talk about coach Dwane Casey and Colangelo.
“For me, Dwane Casey has done a great job but I have to sit down with coach and figure out what his philosophies are, what he’s thinking for the future of this team,” said Ujiri.
“I need this two, three weeks where coach and I are going to figure out whether this thing is going to go forward for the next year. Right now I don’t see any reason why not.”
“I’m on the seat now,” said Ujiri. “I’ll take Bryan’s input when I feel it’s necessary…I am going to put my staff together and we are going to figure this all out collectively.
“Basketball decisions are going to be my decision. It doesn’t matter who tells me what, or how it’s done at the end of he day I’m sitting right here on the hotseat.”
Photo courtesy of: Team Nigeria Basketball