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In Toronto, Masai Ujiri wants to turn the page on a dark season

Toronto's season was a long torture, especially after the Pascal Siakam trade as they won only 10 games in the second half of the season, finishing with only 25 small victories on the clock. The worst season for the franchise since 2011/12!

And the problems weren't just sports-related: Jontay Porter was cut from the NBA when RJ Barrett lost his little brother, and Immanuel Quickley his uncle. A real year horribilis.

“To be honest, the second day of the Draft was the first time I felt really good in a year and a half,” admits Masai Ujiri, president of the franchise, during the press conference extensions of Immanuel Quickley and Scottie Barnes. “It's been hard for a year and a half, and maybe it's my fault, and maybe it's the circumstances. But it wasn't just us. This isn't us. I don't want to be like this.”

This is the second failed season since the 2019 title. The first, in 2020/21, was special because it was played far from Canada, in Tampa, due to the closure of borders linked to Covid-19. A season almost behind closed doors, during which the players never really had the feeling of being at home.

“This team, the fans and the city do not deserve this”

They were good in Toronto, but everything else was going the wrong way. We need to turn the page. Keeping Immanuel Quickley and Scottie Barnes, with new five-year contracts and $445 million invested, should serve as a launching pad for the future.

“It will take time, but we feel that this commitment is the basis that will allow these young people to start setting the tone and feeling responsible,” announces Masai Ujiri. “There is responsibility, they have to feel it. These two players have their heads screwed on and they will get there.”

Both players obviously want to get back to winning ways quickly. “They say we're rebuilding, but I want to win now. That's my mindset every day.”begins Scottie Barnes. “You only play in the NBA once in your career, so the pressure is a chance to elevate yourself. I'm looking forward to this challenge,” continues Immanuel Quickley.

Will the bet work? The answer will be next season. Nevertheless, Masai Ujiri is certain of one thing: Toronto cannot again offer a spectacle as sad as that of last season.

“This team, the fans and the city do not deserve this,” assures the leader. “We have to do better and we did it for ten years before that season. It doesn't matter if you win or lose in this league, you have to show passion. We need to show energy.”

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