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Ujiri promises 'we'll win again' in Toronto on day Quickley, Barnes extensions become official


"We'll win again here ... I guarantee we'll win again here."

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri was not lacking confidence in addressing the media on Monday, the day the Raptors made official the extensions given to guards Scottie Barnes and Immanuel Quickley.

It was reported in June that Barnes had agreed to a five-year, $224.9 million extension, and that Quickley had agreed to a five-year, $175 million contract.

“We are so proud of Scottie for the player and leader he has become," Ujiri said in a press release on Monday.

"I’ve said before that he is the type of player you build a team around. Well, we are doing that… Together, our future starts here. It starts now.”

Barnes was selected with the fourth-overall pick by the Raptors in the 2021 draft, was named Rookie of the Year that season, and set new career highs in points (19.9), rebounds (8.2) and assists per game (6.1) in 60 games last season.

"It's rare to find someone who plays both sides of the ball, as talented as he is," Quickley said of his teammate Barnes on Monday.

"I knew he was really talented, obviously ... A superstar that plays defence. You need guys that are selfless and set an example." said Quickley of Barnes.

Quickley, 25, was acquired from the New York Knicks along with Mississauga, Ont. native RJ Barrett in a franchise-altering deal in December, and set new career highs in games started (38), points (18.6), assists (6.8) and rebounds per game (4.8) with Toronto last season.

“Immanuel embodies so many things that are important to our team… He wants to win, and he will be a Raptor for years to come. We are very high on I.Q. – our point guard of the future,” Ujiri said in a press release.

“To have a teammate like IQ is a blessing … he comes in willing to work every single day. Those are the kind of people you want to have around you,” Barnes said of Quickley.

“These are foundational [players]. It’s the start of something. It’s growth," Ujiri said on Monday. "We’re hoping we can start to really build that force… We want to get back to where we were.”

“Where we were” refers to the Raptors' first and only championship run in 2019 - when they defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games and Kawhi Leonard was named Finals MVP.

Ujiri is adamant that this is a new era of Raptors basketball - given that the last remaining starters of that 2019 team, forwards OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam, were both dealt in trade this season.

"We have to get back to being who we are, it's a big challenge for us and we are all taking on this huge challenge," Ujiri said. "Last year was a shame to me, to us. ... It's now starting to settle."

Toronto finished 25-57 last season, the team’s worst winning percentage in a season since the 2010-11 campaign when they finished 22-60. That left them in last place in the Atlantic Division for the second consecutive year - something that hasn't happened since the second and third seasons of the franchise's existence.

It also spurned the signing of head coach Dwane Casey and the ascension of a team that would qualify for seven straight playoffs from 2013-20, highlighted by the title in 2019.

"There's a lot of history in this organization ... [but] that's all in the past for us now," Ujiri said. "There's no more talk. Let's go and try and work, and build, and win."