Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri is everywhere today! Not only did he do Adrian Wojnarowski’s The Vertical podcast (an excellent listen), he also appeared on Prime Time Sports for the 6 p.m. hour (direct link once the podcast version is up).
Naturally, Ujiri was asked about injured forward DeMarre Carroll, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday. Reports suggested that Carroll was expected out six-to-eight weeks, and Ujiri somewhat surprisingly confirmed that the team is hoping for that time frame. I didn’t get a transcription as I wasn’t at my computer, but that’s the gist of what he said on Carroll, which is more than the team had provided officially to date.
Ujiri was also asked about the contract status of DeMar DeRozan, in response to a report Thursday that DeRozan would opt out of the final year of his contract following the season. That’s an entirely expected move, and while I don’t believe Ujiri came out and confirmed DeRozan’s very obvious intentions, he expressed confidence in retaining him.
“We feel like we have a good shot at keeping him,” Ujiri said, per a transcription from Alex Sexeiro of Fan 590. “DeMar knows how much we love him.”
I covered this off in detail earlier, and there’s not much new here. DeRozan has every incentive to opt out for a bigger payday, and both player and organization have continually spoken highly of each other and about their respective desires to continue the relationship. I have more quotes to that effect in that story, but here’s more from DeRozan in early October, as he told Eric Koreen of the National Post:
I hate that, honestly. I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.
Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.
So, yeah. Let’s nobody panic about this until after the season. Or panic! I don’t care.