The life of an NBA general manager sounds difficult. If your team can't get over the hump and you don't make a move, fans hate you. If you do make a move, the people involved resent you. The job comes with plenty of stress, as Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri knows.
This summer, after Toronto's third-straight postseason loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ujiri knew something needed to change. He offloaded the team's best player, DeMar DeRozan, and the league's Coach of the Year, Dwane Casey. Ujiri fired Casey shortly after the Raptors season's conclusion and traded DeRozan as part of a package for Kawhi Leonard.
Those moves have strained—if not destroyed—Masai's relationships with both DeRozan and Casey. At Team USA minicamp Thursday, DeRozan said his relationship with the Toronto exec was "done."
DeMar Derozan asked about his current relation with Raptors President Masai Ujiri.— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) July 26, 2018
“No reason to have a relationship.” pic.twitter.com/yBEyVN4Hcz
DeRozan added that his return to Toronto will "definitely be a date circled" on his calendar.
Casey, meanwhile, is in a similar predicament, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.
"He and Ujiri still haven't spoken and, according to sources, Casey is still harbouring plenty of resentment towards his former boss," Lewenberg writes.
Casey and DeRozan were the two most central figures on a team that this season achieved the most success in franchise history. Toronto won 59 games and claimed the East's No. 1 seed, but the Cavs swept the Raptors in the second round of the playoffs.