Alignment among Raptors management keys organization's success

Amit Mann is joined by Ben Golliver of the Washington Post to analyze the benefits of Masai Ujiri, Bobby Webster and Nick Nurse seemingly always being aligned with the Raptors' vision. Listen to the full podcast on why Masai Ujiri and the Raptors are sleeping giants in the Eastern Conference on our 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed or watch on our YouTube channel.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: And Masai has earned the respect of MLSE because of the moves that he's made and how he's put the franchise in a position to be successful. I believe, since he arrived, I think they're third in wins overall since that time. That means something.

And I think back-- you mentioned the DeMar DeRozan trade. I think back to that press conference he did once the trade was announced. And it turned out that he had just come from a workout. And that's why he was sweating so much, but that was the topic. He's like, why is he sweating so much?

And also, in that, like, he was being grilled by reporters saying, why did you do this? Why are you trading for Kawhi Leonard? He's going to leave. He's not going to stay here. How healthy is he?

And at one point, he shot back, saying, at the same time, like, I appreciate Coach Casey. I appreciate DeMar DeRozan. He's like, but I gave them a chance. I gave them lots of reps.

At some point, you have to change it up. And that's the reason why he did this. He sensed, he felt it. You could see the team, that they were there. They were coming off, you know, finishing number one in the Eastern Conference. Things were looking very good for them.

And they just needed that one piece. And then Kawhi Leonard just happened to happen. And then obviously, the rest is history.

But the buy-in from the franchise and from management, I think is very important. You mentioned the patience and being able to take your step towards stardom as a franchise at the same time when you're in sync with the expectations of your owners. And, you know, recently, I think of what happened with Donovan Mitchell.

And the New York Knicks are thinking, we had him. We thought we had him, but what happened? And I'm not sure.

Like, maybe we can just have the conversation now, but I wonder if there were-- there's a lot of personnel within the New York Knicks. And there's a lot of very talented people. I wonder if there, at times, there is a bit of jockeying, saying, I value this player more than this player. I think this is the way to go, but then another person who has every right to say, I'm not sure about that.

Stuff like that, the jockeying for position within upper management not-- doesn't just happen, you know, on the floor. It happens, like, also within franchises. And making sure that everyone is completely in sync with the vision is really key.

BEN GOLLIVER: Yeah. I mean, the Nick situation, I just feel like they got way too cute with it. They felt like they were sitting with the biggest stack of chips, and they felt like they were going to be able to beat any offer out there.


BEN GOLLIVER: And at some point when you're dragging this thing out for months, it didn't need to be that complicated. Look how quickly Danny Ainge got the Rudy Gobert deal done, right?


BEN GOLLIVER: Minnesota paid a premium price, but they got it taken care of, like, two months ago. I mean, we've already almost forgotten about that trade because so many other things have happened since then.


BEN GOLLIVER: I think they were just trying to kind of squeeze around the margins. And Danny Ainge was like, all right, guys. Come on. We know how badly you want him. You're sitting courtside at his playoff game like a bunch of goofballs.

Like, come on, you know? Just pay up, and we can make this good. And you don't want to feel like you're getting nickeled and dimed.

And I think he got a pretty nice trade with-- you know, a trade package from the Cleveland Cavaliers for Donovan Mitchell. So I thought Utah had a great summer. And again, this goes back to the self awareness point.


BEN GOLLIVER: They knew they had gone as far as they could. They understood that the chemistry between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert wasn't quite right and probably wasn't going to ever be completely repairable, right?


BEN GOLLIVER: They knew that, they lose a guy like Joe Ingles, they had nobody to replace him. They don't have anybody on the wings to guard the big-time wings in this-- you know, in the playoff environment. So they're pretty much, you know, dead men walking.

And to be able to look in the mirror and say, hey. We've got to go completely the other direction. And if we're going to do that, we better have as many assets as possible to do it.

And hopefully, we get Victor in the 2023 draft if things don't work out, right? So I actually think Utah did a great job. It's a great counterexample to the Raptors where they're retooling--


BEN GOLLIVER: --on the fly. They understand they have some young talent they can kind of keep making it work with. Utah wasn't in that spot. And so they just completely pull the plug.