Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri addressed the media for the first time since it was reported that Kawhi Leonard would join the Los Angeles Clippers.
Ujiri said Leonard was forthcoming with him during the process, but hinted that he may have been the only one from his camp who was.
Leonard’s uncle, Dennis, handled his affairs off the court and it was surprising to most insiders when the reigning Finals MVP reportedly sought to recruit Paul George to the Clippers.
Masai on if Kawhi Watch communication was up front and honest:
"Kawhi was." pic.twitter.com/1h3IaiFBAo
— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) July 10, 2019
“Kawhi was,” Ujiri told reporters at Summer League on Tuesday, when asked about if communication between both parties was straightforward.
“I know what we're dealing with here and I appreciate what the process was,” Ujiri added.
It obviously stings to lose Leonard, who established himself as arguably the most important player in franchise history after steering the Raptors to the title.
Ujiri, however, wasn’t going to fret about it for too long, and as he always does, provided a strong, confident message to the fans.
“There's no time to go out and cry. Honestly, I've lost no sleep. I'm not disappointed. It's on to what's next. I'm telling Raptors fans, don't lose one day of sleep, one second of sleep. We're going to be just fine. We're going to (be) all right,” Ujiri said.
It’ll be tough to see Kawhi wearing a different uniform, even he only spent just one season with the Raptors. It’s safe to say he’ll receive a hero’s welcome upon returning to Toronto (to the NBA office: this would be an ideal season opener or Christmas Day game) and Ujiri reminded everyone that the Raptors won the July 2018 trade with the San Antonio Spurs.
“He definitely has our blessings. He gave it everything while he was with us and we really appreciated that. I communicated with him afterwards and it was very good. We got a great deal out of this. We won a championship.”
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