The Toronto Raptors exited in the second round to end a disappointing playoffs that began with great promise as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
“I can’t pull the culture reset off this year, can I?” said Masai Ujiri, grinning, as he opened his season-ending press conference.
Ujiri is not under pressure in terms of ownership, or job status, or even reputation. But heading into this offseason feels different for Ujiri.
“I think there are many ways to get better,” said Ujiri, who voice rose at several times as he warmed to the subject at hand. “It’s on me. Put it on me. Forget all the other stuff that you guys are talking about. Put it on me. We’ll get better. We’ll get better here. We believe in this city, this country, this team here and move forward. I put it on myself.”
The future of Dwane Casey is uncertain, as is Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. But Ujiri deflected blame away from them and to himself.
“Yeah, everybody can question Casey all they want, you can question Kyle all you want, you can question DeMar DeRozan all you want,” said Ujiri. “Guess what? I have to look at a body of work. As a leader I have to look at a body of work that had been done over the last five years and think what's the last five years, and what's the next five years ahead. And that's what I have to do, and that's what I'm going to do. Yes, there are weaknesses. And yes there are strengths ... And I have to figure out a way.”