Now, Ujiri says, the Raptors "are stepping on territory that we never have". "We spoke. I think maybe my mistake was talking about what we expected going forward from him".
When Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Raptors last week most believed it would be just a one-year rental en route to his preferred destination, Los Angeles.
This is a bombshell trade that would've been hard to predict back when Leonard asked for a trade out of San Antonio.
"I've had conversations with Kawhi, with his agent, with his uncle and everything has gone well", Ujiri said. "We've given a chance to this team. Our city. Our ownership", Ujiri said. On paper, forcing his way away from the best-run franchise in the National Basketball Association is a real head-scratcher. He played only nine games last season because of a right quad injury and clashed with the Spurs over his ailment to the point where he requested a trade.
He took time to not only greet and take a picture with a fearless fan wearing his old Raptors thread but even gave the young man the Kobe kicks he wore for his game in The Drew League, where the Los Angeles native plays during the offseason.
As long as Leonard is with the Raptors, however, Ujiri will work to show him what Toronto has to offer.
Ujiri said Leonard will undergo a physical in the next few days. "Our team, our culture, our city, our ownership".
My goodness, we've officially seen it all.
The debate over Masai Ujiri's integrity following the trade of DeMar DeRozan rages on. It depends on how he fits into Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's system and away from long-time backcourt partner, Kyle Lowry.
Early reports suggested that Kawhi had no interest in playing in Toronto.