Raptors president Masai Ujiri: Playing in Tampa set us back years

Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri holds a press conference to address his new title, vice-chairman, his new contract, his relationship with Kyle Lowry, and more
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
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The Toronto Raptors spent last season in Tampa due to coronavirus.

Also last season: The Raptors went 27-45 and missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years. Heck, by dropping their first game, the Raptors had their first losing record at any point in seven years. The Raptors had what sounded like a farewell for Kyle Lowry, kept him through the trade deadline, sat him rather than push for the postseason then signed-and-traded him for an underwhelming return this offseason. Pascal Siakam struggled and had attitude issues. Raptors coaches reportedly sparked a coronavirus outbreak due to inconsistent masking.

The Raptors don’t want to repeat that next season. They want to play in Toronto

Raptors president Masai Ujiri:

Our hope is we’re playing at home. We have no interest. We have not looked elsewhere. We’re not going to look elsewhere. We’re playing – we’re trying to play at home. That’s the goal for us.

Playing away set us back a couple years.

Playing another year somewhere else would set us back five years.

At least Toronto got some lottery luck and landed the No. 4 pick. Scottie Barnes has the potential to boost the Raptors as they enter their next phase. The NBA’s draft system rewards teams for setbacks.

Toronto also has talented players committed to helping the team build back up.

The Raptors shouldn’t dwell on last season. Regardless of Ujiri’s hyperbolic framing, they have the capability to get back on track fairly quickly,

Of course, that’d probably be easier if playing next season Toronto.