Toronto Raptors Eliminated from Playoffs, Focus Turns on Ujiri’s Contract
The Toronto Raptors playoff streak has come to an end.
Along with the Portland Trail Blazers, the Raptors have had the longest playoff streak in the entire league at seven. After the Indiana Pacers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, the Raptors faith became sealed.
Yup, the Cleveland Cavaliers have technically eliminated the Raptors from the playoffs in four of the last six years.
Starting the season in a new home – over 2000 miles away from home – the Raptors began the 2020-21 campaign with a 2-8 record. It has been a season of inconsistency filled with obstacles that the Raptors simply could not overcome. Bouts with COVID-19, injuries, and poor play pushed the Raptors out of playoff contention and into the NBA’s draft lottery mix.
Nevertheless, as the season comes to an end, the team is still able to draw some positives from an otherwise tumultuous season.
“I’m extremely optimistic. I think we’ve played some of the best teams, maybe better than a lot of teams have to be honest,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. “We’ve been missing quite a few pieces along the way, so I think there’s some adjustments that need to be made. But I don’t see them as hard, impossible or anything like that. I think we have an incredible group of talented young guys that’s growing day-by-day.”
As the season begins to wind down, the focus for the Raptors will now turn to Masai Ujiri.
The President of Basketball Operations for the Toronto Raptors has been with the team for each of the past seven playoff campaigns and has been working on an expiring contract. According to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, team chairman Larry Tanenbaum is set to meet with Ujiri in the coming days to begin contract conversations.
“We are both confident in that approach and Masai has shared that publicly in the past, when asked (about it),” Tanenbaum said.
Simmons reported that both sides originally agreed to hold contract talks at the conclusion of the season. General Manager Bobby Webster and Nurse have already been signed to long-term deals. Ujiri has been with the Toronto Raptors since 2013 and helped bring the franchise its first NBA championship in 2019.
With both Kyle Lowry and Ujiri in need of new contracts, the Raptors may be entering the most important offseason in franchise history.