On Pro Bball Report last week: Greivis Vasquez on Free Agency, Tyler Hansbrough loves Toronto, Nando de Colo trade, the NBA trade deadline, Masai Ujiri, Kenneth Faried, Toronto Raptors pregame and post game stories and a lot more.
“Personally, I want to stay. I think it will be an interesting summer for a lot of guys. I am willing to stay if they want me here, but it’s a business at the end of the night – most of us are feeling pretty comfortable to stay and be a part of this team.”
“Actually, I love Toronto,” Hansbrough enthusiastically responded. “I was telling one of my friends, it’s probably one of the best cities I have ever lived in. As far as the fans go, I like to see them all come out to the games, it’s an atmosphere in here every night, everybody really gets into it.”
The Toronto Raptors player evaluation mode continued on trade deadline day as President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri added yet another point guard to his roster by trading forward Austin Daye to the San Antonio Spurs in return for Nando de Colo.
It seems the the 76ers have come to just such a conclusion as it has become apparent, even to them, that first round draft picks are not going to be tossed around as grease to acquire players on expiring deals.
There are plenty of solid rumors that indicate some pretty decent talent is available at the NBA trade deadline for the right price. The holdup, it appears, is teams are looking for first round draft picks and young talent back in return and those assets have become gold in today’s NBA.
The trade deadline is fast approaching and the Toronto Raptors are one of the teams mentioned as possible active players on Thursday. President and General Manager, Basketball Operations, Masai Ujiri is known as someone who is always looking to upgrade his roster and other executives around the league will be hoping this is true again.
While the players are focused on the remaining thirty games, President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri is always focused on improving the team in the short term without losing sight on his and the ownership’s long term plans. Ujiri was brought in to build a perennial top end team eventually challenging for a spot in the NBA Finals and that will determine whether he makes a deal in the upcoming days.
“I always said since I came in, the players will dictate where we go and the team will dictate where we go and that’s kind of how it’s been,” Ujiri said.
The Toronto Raptors have a golden opportunity to send a message after All-Star Weekend with games against the Wizards and Bulls back-to-back starting on Tuesday in Washington. After beating the Hawks immediately before the break, Toronto has the opportunity to create some psychological and actual distance between themselves and their three closest competitors early in the official second half of the NBA season.
Players don’t usually like to talk about the NBA trade deadline, but the Raptors seemed to be sending a collective ‘don’t trade me’ message to President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri with Tuesday night’s 103-93 win in Washington.
The veteran Chicago Bulls pulled no punches when the game started in Toronto on Wednesday night, racing out to a 10 point lead that they rode to an eventual 94-92 victory at the Air Canada Centre in front of 17,704 enthusiastic fans. The win evens the season series with Toronto, both teams taking 2 in the other team’s building.
The Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Raptors in Toronto on a 6-game winning streak that started the day after they fired general manager Chris Grant. A team with somewhat misguided playoff aspirations when the season began had just lost 6 games in a row to fall to 16-33, but the schedule was about to turn in their favor whether Grant was still in his office or not.
“I like the way we came about and gave ourselves a chance to win with our defense,” said Head Coach Dwane Casey. “We talked about that. We had been giving up 45 percent shooting in the first couple of games after the break and we got them down to 39 (percent) and we won. We did it with our defense.”
- Big Stories From The Prior Week:
Not a lot in the NBA Eastern Conference has turned out the way it was expected as injuries have decimated many teams’ preseason hopes, but once one gets past some disappointing results, it has been an exciting ride that’s created opportunities for some fresh blood in this year’s playoffs. Really, it’s all good outside of New York and Detroit.
“Right now it is kind of what I have to do,” Hansbrough said. “Obviously I am not playing larger minutes, so when I get on the court and opportunity presents itself, I just have to be ready to help the team. That is the way I am looking at it, so when I go in that is what I am doing.”
“I am definitely getting better,” Walker said. “I am putting in the time. I am watching film, just getting better, learning from all my mistakes. That is how you get better and I definitely feel it myself.”
“I always tell the guys we can be friends later,” Williams said. “You can get better now, so you have to figure out which one you want. We can be friends now and you suffer.”