The Toronto Raptors were in a tough situation this offseason after not having any draft picks entering the NBA draft and after hiring a new GM in Masai Ujiri, a transition time was expected for the franchise heading into the free agent signing period.
It didn't take long for Ujiri to show why the team signed him away from the Nuggets, as he took on the hard task of trading former number one pick Andrea Bargnani and was able to flip his contract to the Knicks. That deal was the most important thing for the Raptors to take care of this summer and Ujiri once again showed why he is skilled, just like when he navigated how way through the Carmelo Anthony deal.
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According to ESPN.com, the Raptors also signed forward Tyler Hansbrough to a contract after he played his first seasons with the Pacers. Indiana let him of so they could sign David West to a three-year, $36 million deal and also for signing Chris Copeland to a deal from the Knicks. Hansbrough was a first round pick and played in over 240 games for the Pacers, averaging 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds and he played a solid role last season in the playoffs.
The Raptors have some good players on the roster, especially on the wings with Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Landry Fields and with some extra help inside and at point guard, there is a good chance that the team could contend in the East next season, at least for one of the final playoff spots. The Raptors went 34-48 last season and ranked 16th in the league in scoring and now that they have Ujiri and Gay in the fold, the franchise is expecting to improve over the next few seasons. Ujiri was named as NBA Executive of the Year and Bargnani was once the number one overall pick in the 2006 draft and now he likely will be moved from Toronto to the Knicks.
Ujiri comes to the team after guiding the Denver Nuggets through a tough time with the Carmelo Anthony deal before putting together this year's franchise-record 57 win team under George Karl. After the Nuggets were eliminated in the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors in six games and after losing at home after dropping just three games at the Pepsi Center during the regular season, the feeling around the franchise was that there were big changes ahead, and that is what has occurred. Ujiri is now with the Raptors and with George Karl departing, the Nuggets will have a new coach and a new look next season and that same result is in line for the Raptors as well.