Toronto Raptors

Masai Ujiri confident in the Toronto Raptors despite Kawhi Leonard's departure: 'We're going to be just fine'

Larry Tanenbaum and Masai Ujiri (NBA Getty Images)

It's been an offseason of highs and lows for the Toronto Raptors.

The team won its first NBA title in franchise history on June 13 but weeks later saw Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard elect to sign with the LA Clippers.

Still, despite the range of emotions that could come with a month like the Raptors have had, President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri remains confident in the team. During the MGM Resorts Summer League in Las Vegas, Ujiri spoke with reporters about the process surrounding Leonard's free agency as well as how and why he has such a positive outlook on the Raptors' future.

On the free agency process with Kawhi Leonard

"I think with these things, you're always confident with what you are doing and throughout the whole process, we communicated. I was confident, but I understand how free agency is, too, and you base your pitch on some of the things we've done and I'm biased a little bit. 'We won a championship, it went well blah blah blah…' but I know, I'm not naive to that.

"Free agency doesn't change, but I do want to say that he definitely has our blessings - he gave it everything while he was with us and we really appreciated that. I communicated with him afterwards and it was very good, and I think that we got a great deal out of this - we won a championship, so I'm happy and honestly, it's on to the next. This is the NBA and this is how it works. I always say there's not time to go out - you can't cry, you can't go hide under the table and cry. Honestly, I've lost no sleep, not disappointed, and it's on to the next and I'm telling Raptors fans and everybody, don't lose one day of sleep - one second of sleep - we're going to be just fine."

On Kawhi Leonard's honesty during the process

"I think he was - Kawhi was. I know what we're dealing with here and I appreciate what the process was and, I know free agency and I know how it works - it's not my first rodeo and you know that things are going to go up and down.

"This was a different kind of free agency - it's high stakes and we understood that."

On the coverage surrounding free agency meetings

"It's just become unreal how there's like a play-by-play of what's going on and it's not real, it's not realistic. You have to stay within your focus and one day somebody's in the lead and the next day, somebody's not in the lead and nobody has even talked.

"I don't know how that works, it all goes by sources and whoever a person talks to. Honestly, in our jobs we understand that and you understand what the focus is and you stay focused on what the goal is and that's to sign the free agent at the time and you are doing everything you can at the time but to me all the noise - we've learned this time and time again, that things change and you have to believe that what anybody's telling you-you know it's the truth. Me in my position or Bobby (Webster), or wherever we are."

On the morale of the remaining Raptors

"Everybody has a chip, some kind of way. Normally that's how it is and everybody feels very confident and we'll go in and play. I've communicated with Kyle, with Serge, with Norm, with Marc, with OG and Pascal - with everybody - they all feel good you're going to go play and make the best out of it."

On the current state of the Raptors roster

"I think our team is set up well, I'm confident with the guys that we have. Obviously, going forward, I think we have the requirements of what a team needs to tackle what's next, so whether it's cap space in the future or all of our draft picks.

"I just have the confidence in our scouts and our guys - Bobby, Dan (Tolzman), Teresa (Resch), Keith (Boyarsky), all these guys - Patrick (Englebrecht) - that scout around the world looking for talent. I know the young guys on our team will develop and then, we've created a place where people want to come and play - an atmosphere, a strong organization and I think strong coaching - we are very confident about that."

Some answers have been edited for clarity

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