Masai Ujiri’s To-Do List

The General Manager of the Toronto Raptors, Masai Ujiri, has performed two astonishing feats in his short tenure. First, he traded Andrea Bargnani, and received actual value in return (Steve Novak and draft picks). Then he hoodwinked traded with Sacramento, who now must cope with Rudy Gay’s salary cap-choking contract and selfish play. Much to my disbelief, Masai received no fewer than four useful NBA players in return. What can’t he do?

Dec 18, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) looks to pass as Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker (15) defends at the Air Canada Centre. Charlotte defeated Toronto 104-102 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Since no element of roster rehabilitation seems beyond his grasp, I’m going to set him some further tasks. If he can pull these off, he may be Executive of the Year, again. He will be in the eyes of Raps fans, anyway.

  • Find a new home for Landry Fields. The man has zero 3-pointers this season. While I’m sympathetic to his injury problems, the well has been poisoned. Both team and player would be better off with a fresh start somewhere else. He is owed a ludicrous $8.5M for next season; let someone else overpay. This may be a situation where the Raps look to pick up another team’s headache player(s), as long as everyone who come to us is on an expiring contract.
  • Re-sign Kyle Lowry. Bryan Colangelo certainly did his share of bum deals (cf.: Landry Fields) while he was Big Man on Campus, but giving up a first-round draft pick in last year’s pitiful draft plus Gary Forbes (who?) wasn’t one of them. Kyle’s play this season has been consistently sound, and I’d like him to stay. If Kyle were offered a 2-year plus third-year team option deal at a slight bump to his current annual pay of $6.2M, I bet he’d grab it.

What do you say, Rapture Nation? Would you like our GM to make these deals? Let me know in the Comments.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

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Topics: Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields, Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors

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  • Reyaz

    You won’t ever be a contender with an average point guard like Lowry. The only team that did it without a legit all star was the Lakers who had Kobe. Truth is Toronto will never attract someone like that to their city and must do it through the draft

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Reyaz:
      At a minimum, Lowry is a backup point guard of the highest quality. If Terrence Ross has the same career path as DeMar DeRozan, TR’s shooting, which has been spotty, will improve dramatically as soon as next season. Assuming Lowry is still around, his assist total will balloon, at which point he won’t be “average” any longer.
      I’m not sure why you’re taking shots at Toronto as a city. Free agents have signed here (Hakeem Olajuwon, Hedo Turkoglu). Unfortunately they didn’t play well; such is the risk you run. Toronto is consistently ranked as one of the most livable big cities in North America. Do some research; you’ll see for yourself. Getting players to sign here won’t be a problem once they see a winning program.
      Thanks for commenting, and please come back.

      • Reyaz

        Lowry is a tough point guard, don’t get me wrong. But taking ill advised threes down the stretch of games, isnt what a leader of a team should be doing. If you were Masai, wouldn’t you let Lowry walk if you can move up I to the draft and select Marcus smart? I heard he has a bigger upside than all point guards in the 2014 draft since the raptors aren’t considered contenders at this point, I just can’t seem to picture Lowry lifting this team in the playoffs.

        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi Reyaz:
          I guess I don’t see it as starkly as you do, as an either/or. I don’t want any teenager to be drafted, then anointed as the savior of the franchise. There’s no financial reason why Lowry and (to use your example) Marcus Smart can’t be on the Raps at the same time. Smart will be cheap for a couple of seasons, and he can hopefully learn from Kyle how to play point guard in the bigs.

          Beware the heartbreak of ping pong balls. If you “fail” at tanking, what then?
          Thanks for coming back.

  • Bears

    I see where you’re coming from Brian but I personally don’t think trading Fields is a big priority. Fields is hands down the most difficult contract to trade on the raptors right now. You want to hold on to his contract until this time next year when it’s an expiring 8.5M, which is much more attractive for teams wishing to dump salary.
    As for Lowry, I would agree with you if the plan was to win games now. I’ve always been on the “tank” wagon and would much rather see Lowry traded. That said, I wouldn’t trade Lowry for the sake of trading him. We need to get good value back. Same goes for any raptor we trade.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Bears:
      I completely agree that Fields’ contract is the most difficult to get rid of, which is a compliment to Ujiri. When he came to town, the Raps had 3 dreadful contracts. Furthermore, I don’t think getting rid of Fields is Job 1 at the moment, but if Ujiri could flush the guy, I’d be dazzled.
      Are you sure you don’t want to win games now? Following road wins in Dallas and OKC, this team might be finding its footing, and there will never be a better chance to win the division.
      As to tanking: I’m hoping to get a post finished on that topic imminently.
      I think you’re a first-time commenter. I hope you’ll return.

  • Dinos Charitopoulos

    I couldn’t agree more.