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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski praises Masai Ujiri for keeping Raptors’ long-term flexibility

Masai Ujiri, Adrian Wojnarowski, Raptors

ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski praised the Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri for signing his players to short-term deals rather than lucrative long term contracts.

In his Woj Podcast, Wojnarowski said that Ujiri was able to build a championship contender without “mortgaging” the future of the team.

“He didn’t mortgage his future… he left escape valves in case this thing didn’t work,” Wojnarowski said.

Wojnarowski was referring to the three-year deals of Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. For Wojnarowski, it was wise of Ujiri to give them shorter contracts compared to more expensive deals that would have limited the Raptors’ long-term flexibility.

In the past, teams who have signed elite players with long-term, hefty deals have had a hard time re-calibrating their team. At present, the Houston Rockets are faced with this problem, particularly with Chris Paul.

Recently, the Rockets announced that they would make all their players available for trading. Paul, however, is set to make $38.5 million next season, $41.4 in the following season and $44.2 in the 2021-2022 season. Apart from Paul’s advancing age, his current contract won’t attract teams to trade for him.

With this move, the Raptors have the capacity to stay relevant and remain a playoff team for a longer amount of time. In the event that their players’ skills dwindle or if the roster needs some overhaul, Ujiri can smoothly move the pieces.