Masai Ujiri claims he didn’t wrong Kyle Lowry
Toronto Raptors dime wizard Kyle Lowry was frosty cold in his response to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols when asked of his relationship with president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, claiming the two only have a working relationship, which is independent of one another.
Ujiri insists he and Lowry don’t have an acrimonious relationship and have never had so much as a confrontation, according to ESPN.
Lowry clearly expressed a sense of betrayal coming from Ujiri’s part, given that former backcourt partner DeMar DeRozan nor him had any clue of the trade that would soon send Kawhi Leonard to The North.
Ujiri told ESPN’s The Jump that he has never done anything malicious toward Lowry, but that if his crime was to deal DeMar DeRozan, “Yes, that’s what I did wrong.”
“I understand what happened with DeMar,” said Ujiri. “There are two things in this business that are tough. … When a player leaves — and Kawhi [Leonard] left. And then, when a player gets traded. Those two things are tough. And in our position, we have to do them, and we have to deal with them.
“And in a trade, it’s tough to communicate with players in that manner. We have to communicate with agents and can’t go and say, ‘Oh, you’re going to get traded.'”
Ujiri further justified his decision to trade for Leonard and part ways with the future Mr. Raptor, putting an end to his nine years in Toronto.
“We thought, ‘We have to change. We have to be better,'” Ujiri said, referring to the Raptors’ constant disappointments in the playoffs. “We have to be better; we have to win. The game is all about winning and treating people the right way. And honestly … god bless DeMar. What I did wrong was trade him. Yes, that’s what I did wrong if it’s wrong. You know, like, we traded players, but nothing else I did; there’s nothing else.”
The front office boss assured there is no ulterior issues between him and Lowry, which has been proven by the three-year, $100 million deal he was given in 2017.
“It’s been like that with Kyle since I came here,” Ujiri said of their neutral but professional relationship. “We’ve never — we don’t have a confrontation. We don’t — I’ve never done anything wrong to him. It’s just this kind of decision-making that we have to go through. And I know how Kyle is, so honestly, I love him to death.
“He plays basketball the right way. He gives it his all, you know. And I’m so used to it. And you know he has a good heart. And I know that I haven’t done anything wrong to him. I didn’t trade him.”
Lowry and DeRozan shared a unique bond unlike any other in today’s NBA, making this matter rather personal for the Villanova product — the gamble has worked out for Ujiri, who has the Raptors atop the league at 21-5, and it also has for Lowry, who leads the league with 10.3 assists per game this season — a career-high.