Dan Feldman

Masai Ujiri, Dwane Casey
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Galit Rodan

Raptors extend president Masai Ujiri’s contract


Masai Ujiri’s three years with the Raptors have been the best in franchise history – 48, 49 and 56 wins and Toronto’s deepest playoff run. Part of that is a strong-than-realized roster Ujiri inherited from Bryan Colangelo, but Ujiri has guided the Raptors forward.

So, they want him to stay a while. Like most moves involving Ujiri, Toronto succeeded.

Raptors release:

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have signed President Masai Ujiri to a multi-year contract extension and promoted Jeff Weltman to general manager and Bobby Webster to assistant general manager/vice-president basketball strategy. Ujiri will continue to oversee basketball operations as president of the club.

Ujiri re-signed Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan amid heavy outside interest, lured DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph to Toronto and absolutely fleeced the Knicks in the Andrea Bargnani trade. That résumé earned him this extension.

Sorry, Knicks.

Report: Sir’Dominic Pointer signing in Israel rather than with Cavaliers

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 28:  Sir'Dominic Pointer #15 of the St. John's Red Storm points as he cheers and runs down the court after a play against the Georgetown Hoyas during the game at Madison Square Garden on February 28, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images)
Nate Shron/Getty Images

It’s a prime time to join the Cavaliers.

Cleveland has just 12 players with guaranteed salaries, plus J.R. Smith and/or minus Mo Williams. And the Cavs still have that championship shine that makes everyone associated with the team look better.

Sir’Dominic Pointer, the No. 53 pick by the Cavs last year, is not taking advantage.

Roey Gladstone of Sport 5 (hat tip: Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor):

Pointer already rejected the required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum, teams must extend to second-round picks to retain their rights – last year. To do it again is curious.

If Pointer accepted the tender, he would’ve gone to training camp to compete for one of Cleveland’s three or so available regular-season roster spots. Winning an NBA job would’ve obviously paid more than Israel. Even the worst outcome in that scenario – getting waived – would’ve at least brought the advantage of making Pointer an NBA free agent.

As is, Pointer is doing the Cavs a favor. He’s allowing them to keep his exclusive negotiating rights without paying him (although perhaps they helped arrange his Israeli deal).

At some point, Pointer should consider accepting the tender if the Cavs don’t offer more in a multi-year deal. Even getting waived can jumpstart a player’s NBA career by making him a free agent.

Taking the tender this year made sense with so many roster openings, but apparently Pointer felt otherwise. We’ll see whether he ever gets a better opportunity.

Phil Jackson: Kobe Bryant requested trade during my first Lakers season, Pistons offered Grant Hill

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 4:  Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives the ball downcourt during Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on June 4, 2000 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 98-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
Tom Hauck/Getty Images
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Kobe Bryant infamously requested a trade in 2007. The Lakers even agreed to terms with the Pistons before Kobe vetoed the deal with his no-trade clause.

That wasn’t the first time – for a Kobe trade request or Pistons offer.

Phil Jackson on 1999-00, via Charley Rosen of Today’s Fastbreak:

Kobe was only averaging about 19 points per game. So Kobe called Jerry West and wanted to know how Jerry and Elgin Baylor both averaged 30 points. Kobe also said that he wanted to be traded. Of course, Jerry told me about the conversation. And, for a few minutes I thought about taking the Pistons up on an offer they made to trade Kobe for Grant Hill. Make that a few seconds.

Hill was still a superstar, before ankle injuries derailed his career. But he was 27 to Kobe’s 21 and in the last year of his contract. Kobe was locked up through 2004.

There’s a reason Jackson didn’t think hard about that offer.

There’s also a reason Kobe stayed in Los Angeles, where he won the first of three straight titles that season. Players make trade requests in frustration more often than realized. It usually passes.

This seems to be one of those minor moments, as opposed to 2007 – when Kobe’s trade saga was very real.

Warriors giving out Klay Thompson San Jose Sharks bobblehead, because why? (photo)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 24:  Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors speaks to the media after their 94 to 188 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in game four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 24, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
J Pat Carter/Getty Images

What the heck is this monstrosity?

Just because you’re playing a preseason game in San Jose’s hockey arena doesn’t mean you have to do this.

Also: I want one.

Pat Riley: Shaq, not LeBron or Wade, was Heat’s biggest acquisition

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14:  U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with National Basketball Association 2012-2013 champion Miami Heat player LeBron James after welcoming the team -- including President Pat Riley, Dwyane Wade and others -- during an event at the White House January 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. This is the second year in a row the team won the championship and made a trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Pat Riley throwing shade at LeBron James after LeBron left the Heat? Why I never.

Oh, right.

Now, Dwyane Wade, who left for the Bulls, is getting similar treatment. The Heat president who’s totally not bitter called trading for Shaquille O’Neal in 2004 – not drafting Wade in 2003 or signing LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010 – the biggest move in franchise history.

Riley, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

“I’ll say this, and I mean this,” Riley says during a relaxed moment this past week, “Shaq’s acquisition was bigger than any acquisition that we ever made, including the Big Three.”

“The seminal moment,” Riley says, “to really make us really, really legitimate. He turned our franchise around. He gave us real legitimacy.”

O’Neal spent three and a half seasons in Miami, reaching the conference finals, winning a title and getting swept in the first round. Though it wasn’t fully appreciated at the time, the younger Wade – not the more-renowned Shaq – led the Heat to that 2006 title.

Wade, the greatest player in franchise history, also helped Miami win titles in 2012 and 2013 with LeBron – who might wind up the greatest player in NBA history. LeBron led the Heat to those two titles and four Finals appearances in his four years with the franchise.

I guess there’s a case that Shaq gave the Heat credibility, but it’s not as if he signed in Miami. The Heat traded for him.

LeBron and Wade were better in Miami, won more in Miami and stayed longer in Miami.

I suspect the fact that they now play in Cleveland and Chicago drove Riley’s answer.