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After a long tumultuous season, Kyle Lowry and Masai Ujiri didn’t give much of a commitment either way on their future with the Toronto Raptors during their end-of-season interviews last week. Lowry and Ujiri are both free agents this summer, and regardless of what they decide to do, Fred VanVleet says they have already cemented themselves as two of the most important figures in the history of Toronto sports.
Protect Ujiri at all costs
A clear takeaway from each of the Raptors’ exit interviews is that Ujiri is the glue that keeps this group together, and without him, the future looks uncertain, especially for someone like Lowry.
Lowry, VanVleet, and Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse didn’t hesitate to give praise to Ujiri for his winning attitude and ability to work well with others. Not only do we as fans want to see Ujiri back with the team for years to come, but the players and coaches are hoping he will be resigned this summer as well.
When asked about all the praise he got from his players and coaching staff, Ujiri got very emotional and was almost speechless saying, “I’d go to battle every day with those guys.”
Winning championships remains the priority
Ujiri and Lowry echoed a common theme in their final interviews of the season: their desire to continue to compete for a championship. This comes as no surprise considering they are both as competitive as anyone you will find around the NBA.
Some fans might still be holding on to the memory of winning the NBA championship in 2019, but Ujiri said “Everybody has forgotten what has happened here two years ago. Yes, we won. Nobody cares anymore. We want to win another one.”
It’s encouraging to hear that Ujiri is passionate about winning more championships, above all in Toronto. However for Lowry, championships are the main priority but he didn’t necessarily say Toronto would provide him with the best opportunity to do that.
Lowry also mentioned that he still has a lot left in the tank, and if Toronto isn’t able to build a playoff or championship contending team this summer, it’s understandable that he may want to chase a championship elsewhere.
The NBA free agency period won’t open until August 2nd, but expect lots of speculation to swirl around the future of Masai Ujiri and Kyle Lowry between now and then. It may be a hard reality to accept, but it’s very possible we may be saying farewell to at least one of the two of the most important figures in the history of the franchise.