Raptors president Masai Ujiri was talking to the media at the NBA Summer League. Ujiri gave an honest response on how the entire process of free agency went down with Kawhi Leonard.
Was Leonard upfront with Ujiri and the Raptors throughout the process?
“I think he was,” Ujiri responded, before pausing. “Kawhi was.”
Was anybody not?
“I know what we’re dealing with here and I appreciate what the process was,” he responded. “I know free agency, I know how it works. It’s not my first rodeo. You know things are going to go up and down. This was a different kind of free agency. It was high stakes and we understood that.”
The Raptors were confident at first thinking they were going to re-sign with Kawhi Leonard but after the first meeting, they began to doubt it.
Josh Lewenberg from TSN reports Ujiri was making a reference to Uncle Dennis
Robertson has a reputation for being hard to deal with and would have been hands on throughout the process. According to sources, Leonard and his camp – namely Uncle Dennis – asked for a lot from the Raptors in that meeting, things players don’t generally ask for in standard contract negotiations.
In some cases, they were asking for things that Ujiri – one of the most well-compensated executives in the league – wouldn’t have even had at his disposal. Their requests were “unreasonable”, a source said, which made the Raptors wonder whether Leonard was seriously considering them at all.
It clear that Kawhi had his heart set to play for the Clippers. The Clippers had the assets to make a trade and get one more superstar to be alongside with Kawhi.
Flip to next page to see Masai Ujiri addressing the media.