Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri says job isn't done yet
'Coach Casey is our coach for the future'
Toronto Raptors president and general manager Masai Ujiri confirmed Monday the team is in contract negotiations with coach Dwane Casey, saying he has "had discussions with his agent" and the team "continues to discuss. But coach Casey is our coach for the future."
The Toronto general manager met with reporters three days after Toronto was eliminated in six games by Cleveland in the NBA Eastern Conference final.
A long off-season begins for Ujiri with the NBA Draft where the Toronto Raptors hold the ninth and 27th overall picks. The general manager says it's his first priority and is happy with the position his team is in heading in.
"We're happy to have these options, we're appreciative to have these options on our table … with the number nine pick, I think, you have to have that guy if you make that pick and then with 27, we'll see," said Ujiri.
Another priority for the off-season is free agency and the future of Raptors' all-star guard DeMar DeRozan, who is expected to opt-out of his contract to become a free agent.
Coming off a career season, where the Compton, Calif., native had career-highs in points, assists and free throw shooting, the Raptors general manager made it clear where the organization stands: "Our number one goal is to bring DeMar back."
Another player whose future with the team is in question is backup centre, Bismack Biyombo. The former seventh overall pick has seen his value rise with a breakout season and Ujiri acknowledged how difficult it will be to bring him back.
"Biyombo, whoever it is we're looking at, we're proud of those guys and we want to bring them back," said Ujiri. "Sometimes those things are challenging and difficult."
Toronto set a franchise record this season with 56 wins and advanced to the final four for the first time in team history.
Ujiri thanked the players for Toronto's groundbreaking season and says he would "go to war" alongside the team's raucous fans.
With files from The Canadian Press