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Join Date: May 2008
Location: YO MAMMA
Masai Ujiri on the Fan 590
Sportsnet 590 The Fan - Sportsnet.ca
A transcript of the interview posted by Rhettmatic at RealGm:
Q: What was the bottom line in the decision to re-hire Dwane? Was your discussion more of a job review or a job interview?
A: No, it was a job review in my opinion. Dwane Casey has the pedigree. I think we treat all these guys with the due respect. I think it was important that we share as much information as we can and somewhat try and be on the same page. Look Jeff, I made this point yesterday, I don't think there's any GM and coach that 100 per cent agree on everything. You are going to have disagreements. You are going to have differences. How do you channel that towards winning? How do you channel that towards what your approach is and what your plan is? That's what I talked about with Coach Casey. I gathered as much information as I could, eh gathered as much information as he could, and we tried to put it together. We feel we can grow together. For me it's not a test year. It's not about wins and losses. How much can we grow together and build this thing where it's positive? And then we'll go from there.
Q: Is this in some ways Masai, you say it's not necessarily about the record, is this also quite frankly -- you guys have to see if you can work together?
A: For me, this business Jeff, you know, it's all about communication. It's all about being truthful. Being able to look people in the eye and tell them, and respect what they do. I'm not a coach. So I know, studying what they do, how tough it is. I work with one of the best hall of famers in George Karl and George was a tough coach. Everybody knows. Different coaches have different ways. But how do we adjust and how do we compromise to these guys? And I feel with Dwane Casey, for me, it's going to be a good, strong partnership going into the year and figuring out our team.
Q: When will a decision be made on the assistants and will Dwane have a role in that decision?
A: Of course. Dwane has a 100 per cent role in doing this. We're going to work together. And figure it out. I have to put him on a platform to succeed. And that's by bringing people that he 100 per cent feels comfortable with. We want energy. We want teaching. We want to grow. We want a vibe here that's going to encourage players. And encourage players to get better. Encourage players to go out there and work hard and put it all out for the Raptors. I think that's what DC wants too.
Q: Masai, Dwane made his mark with this team a couple years ago as a defensive guy. I tell the story about teams would come in here and they'd beat the Raptors but you'd hear guys like Hibbert say this is a tough place to play. A lot of people think the Raps' defence deteriorated last season. Will we see a new commitment to D, and do you think this roster has what it takes to play D?
A: I do think they have what it takes. You have athletes. Where we have to make tweaks and whatever our plan is going forward with this team, we are going to do it with that thinking of that behind our heads. The background of this coach is defensive. And that's his specialty. We know that that wins you games in the NBA. Yes we're going to bring in athletes or we have athletes who can score, guys who can put the ball in the basket. But how do you stop people? That's what Dwane does best. We have to make that stamp. We have to instill it again. Did they lose some last year? Yes. Does Dwane know that? 100 per cent he knows that. Just talking to him, he's eager to get back to where they were. I haven't studied much because of time, it's something we are doing as we put our staff together. But his philosophies defensively will help this team grow.
Q: How far are you in discussions with trades, draft and free agents, what's your next priority?
A: The next priority is the draft. How do you attack the draft? What ways can we get in? You have to be aggressive from our standpoint because for me, is it trades, is it getting into the draft, we didn't make the playoffs. We're not playing tonight in the NBA playoffs. That means we need to start adjusting. Is it by letting our players play for a year and we evaluate them? is it by attacking the draft? is it attacking free agency, through trades? We are going to try everything we can to get this team back on track. Is it by finding more young players and trying to develop and teach players here? We are going to do everything (we can). We're not a playoff team. We haven't been a playoff team for 5 years. We have to be patient and we have to find a way to grow this team in the right way. So whatever way, we are poking, we are finding, we are trying to get into everything that's going on, and maybe there's something that we'll figure out where we get something that helps the Raptors.
Q: In your introductory news conference, you refrained from making public comments about players until you had a chance to put your people in place. Very simple question. What did you see as this team's strengths and what are the areas that need strengthening?
A: I think defensively we need to get better. I think offensively, it's cliche to say maybe and I don't know whether it's too easy to say Jeff, we need to get better at everything. We didn't make the playoffs. We're not a contending team. We're not even close to being that. So everything we can. Developing for me is very, very important. How do we develop all these players? And how do we make them better on our team, in terms of production, in terms of wins and losses, in terms of getting better as a player? I think those are the things we are working on in the summer. For us to go into our gym, and we see Rudy Gay working out, and we see Valanciunas here, and Ross here, and Quincy here, and DeM-- for me, that's developing. It starts here. We're making our plans in the summer. And whatever we need to do to get this team better. But I think we need to start developing, and teaching our players what's our philosophy, what's our identity, and what's our plan going forward. It's now we have to start teaching them.
Q: Is there a way to get into this draft?
A: It's a tough question Jeff. I can never shut off my phone. And I can never stop bugging people. I bug people all day. I'll keep bugging and bugging until something gives. That's just the nature of the job. You can never say. Thursday could go very quiet and Friday could be very busy. It's something you just hope things go the way you want it to go.
Last edited by jeffb; 06-20-2013 at 01:25 PM.