Raptors president Masai Ujiri staying in Toronto: 'I love it here'

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Yahoo Canada Sports

The speculation can be comfortably put to rest: Raptors president Masai Ujiri has no plans of leaving Toronto.

Speaking to reporters at his season-ending press conference, Ujiri affirmed his family’s affection for the city and his desire to win more championships.

“For me it's always been about Toronto,” Ujiri said. “I love it here. My family loves it here. My wife loves it here, which is important. My kids are Canadian. I want to win more... In my mind, I'm here."

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The Washington Wizards were reported to be interested in bringing in Ujiri to run their basketball operations, but the club later dispelled that notion.

Ujiri has overseen the most successful period in Raptors history since joining the club as general manager in 2013. His direction helped establish Toronto as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference year in and year out.

His biggest move came in the summer of 2018, when he made an enormous gamble in an effort to finally vault the Raptors into true contenders. Ujiri traded away franchise icon and fan favourite DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard, despite the superstar’s injury concerns and the fact he was only under contract for one year.

The bet paid off in the biggest way possible, as Leonard led Toronto to its first-ever NBA championship, winning Finals MVP honours for his heroics. The Raptors have also emerged as the favourites to re-sign Leonard once free agency opens, making the deal look even sweeter.

Now all that’s left is to see what Ujiri does for an encore.

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