On Wednesday, Masai Ujiri traded DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. On Friday, the Toronto Raptors president held a press conference to talk about why he made the trade.
From DeRozan getting a statue in Toronto to Leonard's impending physical, here's what Ujiri had to say...
On DeRozan's impact
"I want to not only apologize to DeMar DeRozan for a gap of miscommunication but also to acknowledge him and what he's done here with the Raptors, for the city and for the country. There's no measure to what this kid has done."
On what he told DeRozan before the trade
Ujiri: "DeMar has done so much for this organization. When you're in my position you always have to be open in what you can do. Both of us had a conversation, and me and DeMar know what that conversation was. Maybe I could have handled it better. That's what I'm apologizing for."- David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 20, 2018
On the difficulty in trading DeRozan
"[DeMar] was unbelievably loyal to us. I've never seen anything like this. It's honestly why I will not be doing this one day, because the human part of this business to me is what it's all about. He has no faults. Our team is just not at that level, and we keep pounding on the same thing over and over again."
On DeRozan getting a statue in Toronto
"I'll do anything in my power. DeMar is the greatest player that has played until now for Toronto. I think everyone knows that, at least what he's done here. I can guarantee you that he will be respected for that, and he will be acknowledged for that in the biggest way that we can possibly do it while I'm here."
On how Kyle Lowry is dealing with the news
Ujiri hasn't spoken to Lowry yet, acknowledged it's probably hard on him. From what I've been able to gather, Lowry felt how you'd think but understands the basketball side.- Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) July 20, 2018
On acquiring Leonard
Ujiri says the Raptors had to jump on the opportunity to get a player the caliber of Kawhi Leonard. Says he's spoken with Leonard and his uncle "and everything has gone well…that's our responsibility, to figure it out and make them as comfortable as possible.- David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 20, 2018
On talking to Leonard
"I've had conversations with Kawhi, with his agent, with his uncle, and everything has gone well. I look forward to meeting with them face-to-face."
On Leonard's injury
"I know he will be doing a physical in the next few days. No yet, but he'll be here shortly."
On Leonard's future in Toronto
"I think there's a lot to sell here - our team, our culture, our city, our ownership. We have everything here except a championship in my humble opinion. I don't think we lack anything in this city. We have great fans, we have a great organization, we have a great following. I think we have a great country. There is something about this place that reaches out to the whole world. We're proud of that and we're going to continue selling that.
"Hopefully that's an appeal, not only to [Kawhi], but to more NBA players."
On the rumor that Leonard doesn't want to play in Canada
"[Kawhi] did not express a lack of interest in playing in Canada to me."
On his confidence that Kawhi will get back to full strength
"All I'll say is without all this medical drama, we have no chance of talking to a player like that. Zero. You have no chance. He would be in San Antonio, and we wouldn't have a chance to get him. This is why we have a chance and this is the risk that we are taking. We've looked at some of the medical as soon as the deal was done, and the rest will pend on the physical that will be done shortly."