Ujiri says more moves ‘definitely’ possible for Raptors
“Definitely, yeah. You look at this and that’s why we’ve created flexibility,” the team’s president said.
“It's a tough couple weeks for us here with the trades that we've made... We know what these players meant to our program. Incredible, incredible human beings, incredible character, incredible players. You know my relationship with these guys and how hard it was.”
The Raptors dealt Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday in exchange for three first-round picks, Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora and Kira Lewis, who arrived via the New Orleans Pelicans as part of Toronto’s package.
Ujiri said Thursday that he regretted how the end of Siakam’s tenure in Toronto played out.
"I think the lines of communication in the summer were not that great. That part I'm not particularly proud of,” he said, adding he wished he communicated with Siakam better considering their strong relationship.
"He handled it perfectly. I give him 100 out of 100. It has to be difficult, and I said that to him... Nothing stopped him from coming to work every day and trying to be the best he could be while he performed. We truly respect that."
Two of the picks the Raps acquired Wednesday are for this year, and the other for 2026. Brown, who signed a two-year, $45 million contract to join the Pacers during the off-season, is a candidate to be rerouted by the Raptors, according to multiple reports.
"This is what was there for us. We measured it with what was there for us in the past and it was consistent and so we decided to move on it,” Ujiri said of the return.
After electing to let Fred VanVleet hit free agency – and eventually losing him to the Houston Rockets – the Raptors let both Anunoby and Siakam enter their contract years with each player scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this summer. When the team fell to 12-19 after a loss to the Boston Celtics on Dec. 29, Ujiri and Webster knew it was time for changes.
"The uncertainty of free agency was a big factor. We also looked at the trend of the team. We tried to give it as much time as we can,” Ujiri said.
Does he wish he acted sooner?
“No, I don’t,” Ujiri said.
Even with a depleted arsenal, the Raptors blew out franchise icon Kyle Lowry and the Miami Heat Wednesday, leading 78-43 at the half and going on to win 121-97. Toronto will be right back at it against another old friend as DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls come to town Thursday night.
The Raptors currently sit at 16-25, one and a half game back of the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference.