Raptors: Priority shifts to Masai Ujiri after Giannis Antetokounmpo news

President Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
President Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

With the Toronto Raptors’ hopes of landing Giannis Antetokounmpo now gone, the attention is now on Masai Ujiri’s future with the franchise once again.

In a year that has provided many heartbreaks, Toronto Raptors fans were dealt with a big one just before the holidays when Giannis Antetokounmpo announced that he was signing a supermax contract to stay in Milwauke

This has ended the hope that the Raptors would get the opportunity to make a pitch for Antetokounmpo in free agency. Even if the “Greak Freak” were to make it to the open market, there would have been steep competition to sign him.

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What would have given the Raptors hope to sign Antetokounmpo is having Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster in the room to make the pitch. Now, the concern going forward is whether MLSE can keep their big free agent?

It’s no secret that Ujiri is a coveted executive in the NBA considering the number of teams that have reportedly expressed interest in him if he doesn’t re-sign in Toronto. This chatter has gotten pretty loud at times and now with Antetokounmpo off the board, you have to think the pressure to get Ujiri under contract will start to pick up now and in a way it has.

In every news conference he has done, the question has been raised and Ujiri has made it clear that his situation hasn’t been a priority given everything that has been going on with the team. He also said that deals with the front office staff are pretty much done as well but that hasn’t eased the concern going around.

As the Raptors have realized, becoming a perennial contender in the NBA isn’t easy unless you can trade or lure a star player like the team did with Kawhi Leonard. Ujiri understands that completely considering he had his eyes on  Antetokounmpo heading into the 2013 NBA Draft.

It’s that type of thinking that has made Ujiri and Co. one of the top front offices in the league and you can bet MLSE want to bring him back. Unfortunately, the deal to keep him around should have been settled a while back.

Now, when you think about where the team goes from here? At the top of the list should be getting Ujiri’s contract done or close to done. Then the management group should be thinking about how they can look at alternative options to improve the team on the trade market or free agency.

Of course, part of the decision could be made based on what happens this season considering the Brooklyn Nets will look to finally have a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the court. It might be tough to expect Toronto to go up against them and maybe the front office is examining the best options to take.

This will continue to be an uncomfortable time for Raptors fans but having the Antetokounmpo band-aid ripped off now is better than losing him to another team in free agency.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc10YC1BOaQHow do you think the Raptors should approach Ujiri’s situation? Do you expect him to stay with the team past this season? Let us know in the comments below.