With the Toronto Raptors set to begin the 2020-21 NBA season on Dec. 23, various players, coaches and executives have sat down in front of reporters for virtual media sessions during training camp.
On Saturday, Raptors President Masai Ujiri spoke with reporters about various topics, including the future of the franchise with respect to members of the front office, including general manager Bobby Webster.
"My staff is pretty much done and there's just been so much," Ujiri began. "Honestly, it's not a matter of like not doing it, I think there's just been so much that I know I've pushed it out until I think we get through a lot of this… "
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Raptors are in the midst of setting up a home base in Tampa, FL, where they will spend at least the first half of the 2020-21 NBA season. Toronto is the first NBA team to temporarily relocate since the then-New Orleans Hornets, who were forced to spend two seasons (2005-07) in Oklahoma City, OK in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
To Ujiri, this move, and subsequent adjustments are currently the priority for the team and its front office, and he maintained that he did not want contract negotiations to get in the way of that main focus. Still, his words indicate that it is a matter of when - not if - these negotiations will be completed.
"It's just so much going on with this relocation and the focus and I don't want to be distracted that way but in terms of staff, there was even some distraction with that, because Bobby (Webster) was the last one but I think we are sealing it. There's no issues, so, I would consider that done soon enough."
Webster, 35, has been the franchise's general manager since the offseason of 2017. Webster and Ujiri have formed one of the league's most impactful executive duos, as they are credited with orchestrating the roster moves that ultimately resulted in Toronto winning its first NBA title in 2019.
In addition to Webster, Ujiri is also nearing the end of his contract and was asked for an update on his long-term commitment to the Raptors franchise, to which he responded with a positive outlook, saying "I don't know what the timeframe will be but, you know, I go into this thing with a very positive mind and attitude and we hope that it goes that way."
Hired in 2013, Ujiri is entering his eighth full season with the Raptors franchise. The Raptors have qualified for the postseason in each of the seven years in which Ujiri has been a member of the front office, good for the longest postseason streak in the Eastern Conference and the second-longest streak in the league behind only the Houston Rockets.
You can listen to the rest of Ujiri's media session here.
Toronto continues training camp in preparation for its first preseason game, which is slated to take place on Friday, Dec. 12 against the Charlotte Hornets at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC.
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