Ujiri speaks on fractured relationship with DeRozan
In an interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson Raptors President Masai Uijiri wants to rebuild the relationship with former Raptor DeMar DeRozan.
Uijiri traded the Raptors star in 2018 to San Antonio for Kawai Leonard.
The trade along with the firing of Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey was what ignited the Raptors championship run in 2019.
But it fractured long standing friendships and business relationships between the three.
“If you have that human part of you, you feel it in your heart,” said Uijiri.
Both Casey and DeRozan were staples in the Raptors franchise, and were integral to building the culture that the Raptors now have.
It’s the unfortunate side of the business. The moves were necessary for the Raptors championship win, but emotionally it is tough to make these moves.
“I will never forget, I will never, ever forget having to do that with Coach Casey and walking to his office, waking up that morning. Many times I wanted to move it and change it or think that you’re not making the right decision,” Said Uijiri.
“It was incredibly hard, because Casey is an incredible person, and so great to work with. … DeMar, I was in the hotel in Kenya, and I walked around that hotel at 4 a.m., 5 a.m., for a couple hours, trying to gather up enough strength and courage to make this phone call. I will never forget it,”
Ujiri says he has been able to repair the relationship with Casey but “There is still plenty of work to do with DeMar.”
While Uijiri wants to repair the relationship with DeRozan its unclear how that will be tackled.
With reports that DeRozan is unhappy with his situation in San Antonio maybe a return to Toronto could happen in the future?
For the full interview see below.