Skip to main content

Basketball ‘On to the next’: Masai Ujiri not losing sleep over Kawhi Leonard’s exit

In this May 29, 2019, file photo, Raptors president Masai Ujiri speaks during a media availability in Toronto.

Frank Gunn/The Associated Press

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri says there’s no need for fans to be concerned over the departure of NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. He’s already working on his next plan.

Ujiri spoke with media for the first time on Tuesday since it was reported that Leonard was leaving Toronto for the Los Angeles Clippers. Ujiri told reporters that he is optimistic to move forward without the three-time all-star forward that brought the city its first NBA championship, and that he’s already thinking about what follows.

“This is the NBA and this is how it works...You can’t hide underneath the table and cry. Honestly, I’ve lost no sleep, I’m not disappointed. It’s on to the next,” said Ujiri.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’m telling Raptors fans and everybody: Don’t lose one day of sleep, one second of sleep. We’re gonna be just fine.”

Ujiri says that there are no hard feelings with Leonard choosing to leave after one very memorable season and that the Raptors got everything they could out of him while in Toronto.

“He definitely has our blessings. He gave it everything while he was with us and we really appreciated that,” said Ujiri. “I communicated with him afterward and it was very good. We got a great deal out of this, we won a championship so we’re happy. Honestly it’s on to the next.”

Ujiri, who was speaking at a Raptors summer league game in Las Vegas, also touched on the free agency process, saying that he was confident right until the end that there was a chance Leonard would choose to re-sign.

The notoriously tight-lipped Leonard, who has virtually no social media presence, remained mum through the entire process publicly. His tenure in Toronto ended with a wild few days of free agency that included tracking trips to California by the plane owned by Raptors parent company Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.

Leonard reportedly agreed to a four-year US$142 million max contract.

While Raptors fans were gutted, the mood was overwhelmingly one of appreciation for the player who arrived last summer in the blockbuster deal that sent DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio.

Story continues below advertisement

“I appreciate what the process was and I know free agency, this was not my first rodeo, so things are going to go up and down and this was a different kind of free agency,” said Ujiri.

“It was high stakes and we understood that.”

Leonard produced one of the best playoff performances in league history to bring the NBA championship to Canada for the first time.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter