Why Raptors management is on the team's road trip

Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster are both on the Raptors' lengthy road trip and there's a few reasons why.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: --they talking to the players about, even Nick Nurse. Like, this is all-- it's-- it's a lot of different issues.

KATIE HEINDL: There's a couple main ones for me. And I'm not-- like, I-- do not put your tinfoil hat on. But a part of me, it is just, like, coincidental, OJ being out.


KATIE HEINDL: But you also have to think, like, OK, you're gonna hold him out. Nick Nurse seemed surprised at that. And you're gonna hold him out for the rest of the trip. You're gonna get to see what the team looks like immediately without him, if he's the person that is now being talked about in trade scenarios the most.


KATIE HEINDL: I don't know. Put two and two together there. They're obviously gonna do some-- they're gonna have, like, an early preview of what that might look like.

AMIT MANN: Mm-hmm.

KATIE HEINDL: You also have-- I think they can evaluate how Precious is looking. The team also does historically just play a lot better on the road. There's something to be said for, like, getting out of the place where you've just had this awful slump, for what feel-- you know, like, four months, little road trips here and there. But they do-- they do-- they kind of play to their opponent.


KATIE HEINDL: And I think, like, the energy of the road, it's just, like, mentally a nice change. Also, the deadline is looming, and I think guys realize that too. In terms of evaluation, I don't know what you're gonna see differently on-- like, than you haven't been seen, since the beginning of December. Like, these problems, they're just manifesting, like, more intensely. But these problems have been there all along.


KATIE HEINDL: So I don't really know what they're evaluated. And I don't know if it's just a point for them to be, like, we're here, we're seeing it, as a little bit of, like, a PR, like, pat on the head for fans, to be, like, yeah, oh, they're here, they're gonna make mix it. They're gonna, like, sort of be in the mix.

AMIT MANN: Be in the mix.

KATIE HEINDL: But the main thing, I think, and why it doesn't surprise me that they're gonna wait, is cause they love the squeeze. So, like--

AMIT MANN: They love the tension, depression.

KATIE HEINDL: They love the tension. They're not gonna do, like, a-- like, a nice, like, handshake deal while they're in Phoenix because it's convenient for everybody.


KATIE HEINDL: They're gonna wait. They're gonna wait till they get back. They're gonna wait till probably, like, a day or two before the deadline and get everybody extremely desperate, all these people that are interested in whoever the Raptors are offering right now--

AMIT MANN: Mm-hmm, yep.

KATIE HEINDL: --so they can get the most out of them.

AMIT MANN: [YAWNS] Yeah, I mean--

KATIE HEINDL: It's funny to announce that you're gonna wait, though. Because, like, I don't know who would think they wouldn't. But it's funny, very funny to me to be, like, no, we're gonna-- [GIGGLES] we're not gonna think about this until we get home to our comfortable war room, where we can squeeze everybody over the phone.

AMIT MANN: I need my chair.


AMIT MANN: I made trades in this chair.

KATIE HEINDL: Maybe-- you know what, maybe that's it.


KATIE HEINDL: Maybe they've gotten superstitious and they just, like-- the team chef is cooking them up some type of, like, deadline snacks.

AMIT MANN: He's very good, by the way.

KATIE HEINDL: He is a great chef. [LAUGHS]

AMIT MANN: I had his food once. They were tacos. They were delicious.


AMIT MANN: Yep. Before they left for this road trip, it was a practice. And I was watching Nick Nurse and Masai Ujiri, they were having, like, a extensive chat. Like, we get into the practice space. And it's like practice has already happened, kind of. But, Masai Ujiri and Nick were already talking. And they were talking and they kept on talking. And Nick was very animated. And-- but they ended it. It was a handshake, a fist bump, and a let's go from Nick Nurse, and off they went.

So to your point about Nick Nurse, I have trouble believing that his job could be in jeopardy and things like that. It's hard to believe because this vision and everyone's aware of the flaws of the Raptors' vision. And they haven't addressed them, right? 3-point shooting, finishing around the rim, rim protection. Those have not been fixed. So this still seems like it's in the evaluation phase. But for Fred VanVleet, he's been playing very well lately.

I just think you want to be around the players right now. We'll put it that way.


AMIT MANN: You want to get the feel of the players and what they're thinking and how they're feeling. I would hope that Nick, and Masai, and Bobby have some idea, you know, what players really want to be in Toronto. And I think that's what it is gonna be-- how this is gonna be solved is if Fred is looking for an absurd amount of money, for instance, maybe he's not gonna be a fit. If OG indeed does want out, reportedly, whatever, maybe that's something to think about.

But you want to be around the players right now. And I think that's more of a-- that's a better indication of what the Raptors are about as a franchise, versus the other side, which is, like, they make-- they're making trades or they're talking to other teams and not really around the team. That just seems kind of, like, poor-- poor management, poor style.

KATIE HEINDL: Yeah. No, you make a good point. And I think, like, the fact that I didn't even think of that shows how far we've sort of strayed from that, being, like, the-- honestly, like, that being the presented, sort of, onus or, like, main quality of the team. I think there is, like, a deep disconnect, right, of, like, who is prioritized in these situations. So I like your version. It gives me some hope.