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Raptors president and vice-chairman Masai Ujiri had a laugh about the rumours swirling around the Lakers and Nick Nurse. Also, he commented on what Scottie Barnes showed in his rookie season and how proud he was of Pascal Siakam's rebound year. Full availability is on our Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube.
- He contacted you about the availability of your head coach? And would you entertain any such conversations?
MASAI UJIRI: [LAUGHS] Yeah.
MASAI UJIRI: You know, no team has contacted me. And I see all the stuff that you guys see. I dream like they dream.
Yeah. Yeah, I want Messi. I want Ronaldo. I want Kobe Bryant. Yeah, so they can keep dreaming. I dream, too.
- [INAUDIBLE] players getting faster at different rates. Do you have a sense of how much faster Scottie-- how fast of an improver is Scottie going from this year to next year?
MASAI UJIRI: I think we are very, very hopeful. We saw it. We saw it in the games. We saw it in the games that he really had impact. And it was so unfortunate he got hurt in that first game. But his strong mind kept him and got him back, got him back on track quickly. It tells you his mindset as a player.
Honestly, Bruce, I think he's going to grow. And I think he's going to keep growing, just one of those type players that you dream to get, big, strong, skilled, basketball IQ, and you hope the things that he can put together, shooting. Majority, those who come is 20 years old. And we've just seen something in one year. Sometimes, with these players, that's like a three-, four-year span. I hope it's as fast as this. But, in his mind, he's not going to slow down. And we love that about him.
- When you talk about character, evolution, and culture, how much-- not so much of a surprise, but as a joy has it been watching Pascal develop in terms of coming back from the shoulder injury [INAUDIBLE] and considering kind of big picture bubble experience and then Tampa, and then [INAUDIBLE]?
MASAI UJIRI: Oh, man. That one is a touchy one, because what that guy went through, we all go through it, and it's not advertised. His is advertised. His is public, because he is a public figure.
I'm so proud of him. Yeah, there's nothing-- watching his press conference the other day, yeah, I want that guy on my team. I want-- I want-- I want that kind of fighter on my team.
If you can come back from that in life-- you saw it. You saw what people call him, racist, all the things that were said about that guy because of basketball, because of sports. Yeah, he gets paid, but he's also a human being, right? Yeah. And he stood it, withstood it, went, when he was coming back, got hit again, got injured. Yeah. Those things crack people, right? And he grew out of it. And to see him on that stage, fight, fight, and fight, yeah, that's who we want to go to war with, to battle with. I'm proud of him, incredibly proud of Pascal.