Tag Archives: Ujiri

Raptors president Masai Ujiri says fight for equality to continue outside of courts

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri says he will continue to fight for equality outside the courts now that a lawsuit against him has been dropped.

Ujiri issued a statement Monday in which he thanked Raptors players, staff, ownership and fans for standing with him throughout the timeline of the lawsuit, which stemmed from an altercation with a California law enforcement officer at the 2019 NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif.


The lawsuit, filed by Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland and his wife, Kelly, was dropped on Wednesday, as was a countersuit filed by Ujiri.

“I have decided my fight isn’t a legal one,” Ujiri said in the statement.

“Now the challenge is this: What can we do to stop another man or woman from finding themselves in front of a judge or behind bars because they committed no crime other than being Black? That is the work that each one of us must commit to, every day.”

Video of the 2019 incident had started to circulate online last August. Footage of Ujiri speaking about the incident that month was posted to the Raptors’ Twitter feed Monday.

“When I look at this I ask: Who are we as people?” Ujiri said in the video. “Who are we as human beings?

“It comes down to human decency.”

Countersuit alleged unauthorized use of force

Strickland was seeking $ 75,000 US in general damages as well as other compensation.

He alleged he suffered injuries in an altercation when Ujiri tried to make his way onto the court following the Raptors’ championship-clinching victory over the Golden State Warriors on June 13, 2019, at Oakland’s Oracle Arena.

Ujiri’s countersuit alleged unauthorized use of force by Strickland.

The altercation between the men was captured in a widely circulated fan video, which appeared to show Strickland shove Ujiri twice before the Raptors president responded.

Strickland, who alleged Ujiri did not have the necessary credentials to access the court, filed his civil suit after prosecutors decided in October not to press criminal charges against Ujiri.

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CBC | Sports News

Sheriff’s deputy drops lawsuit against Masai Ujiri from NBA Finals altercation

A California law enforcement officer has dropped his lawsuit against Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri that stemmed from an altercation at the 2019 NBA Finals.

The Raptors president subsequently dropped his countersuit against Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland, which was confirmed in a statement from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), the team owner.

The Raptors, MLSE and the NBA were also named in Strickland’s lawsuit.

“Masai has been completely vindicated, as we always knew he would be,” an MLSE spokesperson said in a statement. “We are disappointed that he and his family have had to endure the past 18 months of worry and uncertainty, but for their sake we are pleased the legal process has come to an end — and especially pleased that the claims made against Masai and MLSE were dismissed entirely, free of any financial settlement.

“We continue to be deeply troubled by the fact that Masai was put in this position in the first place, and believe he should never have had to defend himself. Masai is taking some time to process the ordeal, and intends to address it publicly at a later date.”

Strickland, who was seeking $ 75,000 US, had alleged he suffered physical injuries to his head, jaw, chin and teeth. Ujiri’s countersuit alleged that Strickland used excessive force against him. Ujiri also claimed that he never would have been treated with such disrespect if he wasn’t Black.

WATCH | Video shows altercation between Ujiri, sheriff’s deputy:

New video released by lawyers for Raptors president Masai Ujiri shows him being shoved by a sheriff’s deputy while trying to get onto the court to celebrate the team’s NBA championship last year. The deputy claims Ujiri was the instigator and has sued him for injuries. 2:23

The case caps a nearly two-year-long battle between their legal teams.

The incident happened on June 13, 2019, after the Raptors won Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors at Oakland’s Oracle Arena.

“I’m certainly happy it’s over for him and that he is done with it … it’s a long process that he had to go through, but he did it properly and just went through it without ever wavering,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said before the Raptors played the Wizards in Washington on Wednesday.

“I’m sure he’s glad it’s over with, as we all are.”

In the videos released, Ujiri was seen going into his pocket to bring out his credentials. However, as he tried to do that, Strickland is seen on his body-camera video shoving Ujiri twice, telling him he had no authority to be there. Ujiri then shoves Strickland back, which was all caught in the 11-second video. The Raptors president and his legal team argued there was no reason for Strickland to forcefully shove Ujiri.

“Mr. Ujiri was abundantly calm, reasonable and compliant during his encounter with Strickland, and there was absolutely no reason for Strickland to forcefully shove Mr. Ujiri twice without provocation,” Ujiri’s legal team said last October in a response to Strickland’s lawsuit. “At this stage, it would be improper to construe the facts in Strickland’s favour and find otherwise.”

The response also says Ujiri’s Fourth Amendment right was violated. Ujiri’s team says the Fourth Amendment requires officers to use force only when it is “objectively reasonable.”

Strickland’s civil suit was filed after prosecutors decided in October not to press criminal charges against Ujiri.

With both suits now dropped, neither side will gain any money as part of the mutual agreement, and each side will pay their own legal fees.

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Raptors’ Ujiri believes teamwork will help players adapt to life in Tampa

Their practice facility is still under construction. The players and staff are on the hunt for temporary housing in Tampa.

As the NBA’s only team playing outside of its market — and country — this season, the Toronto Raptors have numerous hurdles to clear.

But team president Masai Ujiri said if there’s a unique trait about Toronto, it’s his roster’s ability to come together in the face of big challenges.

He expects nothing less in this bizarre campaign.

“Listen, this is not an easy task here,” Ujiri said on a Zoom video conference call Saturday. “There’s a lot of sacrifices to it. I know the whole world is sacrificing now and we are coming into a game and we’re working at a job that we love.

“When we decide this is something that we are going to do, we all want to do it together. I’m proud of this organization, honestly, to make this jump.”

WATCH | Masai Ujiri on how bubble environment prepared Raptors:

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri discusses how his team is adjusting to life in their new environment. 3:06

The Raptors begin team practices Sunday in Tampa, where they’ll play their “home” games at Amalie Arena at least for part of the season due to Canada’s travel restrictions around COVID-19.

Ujiri spoke to the media for nearly 40 minutes Saturday, touching on everything from free agency and front-office contracts, to keeping the Black Lives Matter momentum going, and the seventh anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s death.

The Raptors learned less than three weeks ago they wouldn’t be permitted to play out of Scotiabank Arena. The last-minute location change has meant rushing to build a practice court in a hotel ballroom and finding the players and staff housing.

Supporting players, staff is No. 1

Replicating the comforts of Toronto’s OVO Centre practice facility won’t be easy, but Ujiri said if the team’s reaction to the bubble’s ballroom courts during the NBA’s summer restart is any indication, the team will adapt.

“I remember walking into the ballroom in the bubble almost the same time as Kyle [Lowry] and Fred [VanVleet]. I’ll never forget that image in my head. Right away they dribbled the ball and just got to it,” Ujiri said. “These guys are hoopers. There was no complaint, there was nothing, all they wanted to do was play. That’s how basketball players are, they see that hoop, they see that wooden floor and they just want to play.”

Ujiri, who is with the team in Florida and was also in the Walt Disney World “bubble” after the resumption of play, said priority No. 1 is supporting the players and staff in relocating.

“As the leader of the organization you try as hard as you can to make your staff, your players, everybody feel as comfortable as you can,” he said. “That’s why you always want to be in the environment that they are in too so that you are experiencing it with them.”

The global pandemic will determine whether the Raptors will be home before the end of the season.

“Whether we are in Naples [Toronto’s pre-bubble camp], whether we are in a bubble in Orlando, whether we’re here, whether we’re coming back, we play sports to win,” he said. “You are going to have adversity … wherever we end up, home in Toronto, we love you guys there and we will do everything for you guys.”

Whether fans will be allowed at Amalie Arena for the 18 home games scheduled so far — the league has released only the first half of the season schedule — is still a question mark. Florida had over 10,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, and recently surpassed the one-million mark in total cases.

“We’re in the process of working all these things [out], and I don’t have definite answer for you, but the health and safety protocols are going to be important to us,” said Ujiri, who thanked the Orlando Magic for allowing the Raptors to play within the same market.

WATCH | Ujiri on the loss of free agents Ibaka, Gasol:

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri explains the factors that resulted in Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol signing with different teams. 1:19 

Uncertainty around where they’d play pushed the renegotiation of staff contracts to the backburner, but Ujiri said GM Bobby Webster’s new contract is virtually a done deal.

Revamped front court

There remains roster uncertainly around the future of Terence Davis, who faces seven charges, including assault and harassment after allegedly striking his girlfriend. Davis, who is with the team in Tampa, appears in court Dec. 11, a day before the Raptors tip off the pre-season at Charlotte.

Ujiri said the team must respect the process of the players’ association and the league’s investigation.

“We made a decision as an organization with all the information we had with us. I will say this: We don’t condone anything that resembles what was alleged to have happened … we’ve done as much due diligence in talking to Terence, in talking to our organization,” Ujiri said. “We went as far as even talking to all the women in our organization and getting their point of view.”

The Raptors revamped their front court in free agency after losing Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. With so much riding on the 2021 off-season and free agency, Ujiri said that limited “term and years” the Raptors could offer their former big men.

“Marc and Serge were incredible for our organization, and all of us have the same exact feelings about them,” he said. “Hard to see, but sometimes we have to move on from these things.”

The Raptors added Aron Baynes, a “guy that you don’t like on the other team and you love on your team,” Ujiri said, and Alex Len to fill the void.

The NBA’s developmental G League is also in limbo, and when — or if — it does tip off this season, Raptors 905, which runs out of Mississauga, Ont., faces the same travel restrictions as its parent club. That doesn’t mean they won’t figure out a way to play.

“I will say this, whatever the G League is doing, the Toronto Raptors and 905 will participate,” Ujiri said.

A CBC “kid reporter” posed the Zoom call’s final question to Ujiri, asking how young fans can follow the team while they’re not playing at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena.

“We’re here! We’re on TV! You can see us — we’re not going anywhere,” Ujiri said to the young reporter. “We’re right here with you guys. And we’ll be back. We’ll be back soon enough. We’re going to give it our all, we’re going to try and play our best … this goes fast. A couple days ago we were in the bubble. We’re right here now.”

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Masai Ujiri says the conversation about racism ‘can no longer be avoided’

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the protests around the United States that have followed.

Ujiri, in a column that was published Sunday by the Globe and Mail, wrote about his reaction to seeing the video of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, dying after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving and pleading for air last Monday.

‘We have to stop that cycle’

Ujiri also referenced the recent death of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was shot while jogging in Georgia, and of Breonna Taylor, a young black woman who was fatally shot by police in her home in Kentucky.

“A death like this happens, and we rage about it, and the headlines recede, and the world moves on, and then a few weeks later something else happens and we’re outraged again and then we move on, again. We have to stop that cycle,” Ujiri said in the column.


“So many of you are asking: What can I do? There is a sense of helplessness, but that must not paralyze us,” he added. “Your voice matters, especially when you are a leader or influential figure, and especially if you are white. Leaders have to be bold enough to state the obvious and call out racism.”

“The conversation can no longer be avoided because it is hard. We have to have it. Now.”

This week thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States.

Officer Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Ujiri said “police have a tough job. But … they are supposed to protect all of us.

“I didn’t see any peace or protection when that officer had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck. I saw indifference,” Ujiri wrote. “The ‘order’ in ‘law and order’ should not mean the deadly suppression of people of colour; it should mean preserving a society so we can all feel free and safe, to live in peace with each other.”

Kyle Dubas, the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, tweeted Ujiri’s column.

Raptors call for change

“As an organization and a community, we come from all over the world. We are diverse. We speak different languages. But our shared humanity unites us,” the Toronto Raptors said in a released statement Saturday night.


“When we see racism and violence committed against someone because of the colour of their skin, we should, and do, feel outrage. We cannot accept this. While we grieve for those we have lost, we know grieving is not enough. We must honour their memory by acknowledging these ills exist, confronting them, and coming together to create a better society. It is far past time.”

Michael Jordan weighs in

NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, who is also the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets, also released a statement on Sunday.


“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry. I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of colour in our country. We have had enough.

I don’t have the answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others. We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality. We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability. Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws, or else we need to use our vote to create systemic change. Every one of us needs to be part of the solution, and we work together to ensure justice for all.

My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and to the countless others whose lives have been brutally and senselessly taken through the acts of racism and injustice.”

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Knicks reportedly targeting Raptors’ Masai Ujiri after firing president Steve Mills

The New York Knicks fired team president Steve Mills on Tuesday, shaking up the front office just two days before the NBA’s trade deadline.

General manager Scott Perry will take over control of the basketball operations, with the team announcing that it would begin an immediate search for a new president.

Mills has held a number of titles at Madison Square Garden since 1999, where he came after spending 16 years at the NBA. But this was the first time his role included full control of basketball decisions, and now MSG executive chairman James Dolan will look for someone else to do it.

There was immediate speculation that the next big name that would draw his interest was Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who built Toronto’s NBA championship team.


After the Raptors won the NBA title for the first time in the franchise’s 24-year history with a six-game victory over Golden State, Ujiri said his roots are in Toronto.

Reports also surfaced last June that the Washington Wizards were preparing a lucrative offer to lure Ujiri out of Toronto.

Ujiri’s wife is from Washington, and the Wizards were reportedly offering an ownership stake in the team.


Another losing season

The native of Zaria, Nigeria called other teams expressing interest in him a “blessing,” but said he is happy in Toronto, has been able to grow with the Raptors and his two kids are Canadian.

The Knicks are 15-36 this season, Mills’ third in charge after replacing Phil Jackson. They were 17-65 last season, tying the worst record in franchise history, but believed a big summer could lead to a quick improvement.

However, they couldn’t sign any of the top free agents despite having enough money to afford two of them, watching as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving instead went to Brooklyn. Mills then pivoted to sign veteran players to short-term contracts, later insisting those were the players New York was targeting all along.

But instead the Knicks are headed for a seventh consecutive season with a losing record and no playoff appearance.

Now it will be up to Perry to decide if there are any moves worth making for the Knicks before Thursday. Their big trade from last season appears to be a failure: Kristaps Porzingis has helped spark a turnaround in Dallas after New York traded its former all-star there on Jan. 31, 2019.

Laughingstock

Mills was the Knicks’ general manager from 2013-17 before being elevated to president after Jackson’s departure. He hired Perry and Fizdale, touting a new culture and a plan to rebuild the franchise through youth instead of seeking quick fixes.

But there haven’t been any fixes at all.

Pressure shifted onto Mills after Fizdale was fired following a 4-18 start to his second season. The Knicks have played better under interim coach Mike Miller and won their last two games, but the organization remains one of the league’s laughingstocks.

New York was blown out at home by Memphis last Wednesday in its most recent home game, when point guard Elfrid Payton was suspended and forward Marcus Morris fined for their roles in an altercation late in the game. Fans chanted “Sell the team! Sell the team!” with Dolan sitting in his courtside seat.

Dolan decided on a different change.

The Knicks said it was anticipated that Mills would be nominated to the board of MSG’s standalone sports company.

“Steve and I have come to the decision that it would be best for him to leave his role as president of the New York Knicks,” Dolan said. “We thank Steve for his many years of service to our organization and look forward to continuing our relationship with him as part of our board.”

“I will always be grateful to Jim for giving me the chance to represent this franchise and I’m disappointed we were unable to achieve success for New York,” Mills said. “I would like to thank the staff and the players for their hard work during my tenure. I will always be a Knicks fan.”

Mills’ firing is the second major change for the Knicks this season. They fired coach David Fizdale after just 22 games.

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Raptors president Ujiri says ‘it’s on to the next’ after Leonard’s departure

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri says there’s no need for fans to be concerned over the departure of NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. He’s already working on his next plan.

Ujiri spoke with media for the first time on Tuesday since it was reported that Leonard was leaving Toronto for the Los Angeles Clippers. Ujiri told reporters that he is optimistic to move forward without the three-time all-star forward that brought the city it’s first NBA championship, and that he’s already thinking about what follows.

“This is the NBA and this is how it works…You can’t hide underneath the table and cry. Honestly, I’ve lost no sleep, I’m not disappointed. It’s on to the next,” said Ujiri.

“I’m telling Raptors fans and everybody: Don’t lose one day of sleep, one second of sleep. We’re gonna be just fine.”

Ujiri says that there are no hard feelings with Leonard choosing to leave after one very memorable season and that the Raptors got everything they could out of him while in Toronto.

“He definitely has our blessings. He gave it everything while he was with us and we really appreciated that,” said Ujiri. “I communicated with him afterward and it was very good. We got a great deal out of this, we won a championship so we’re happy. Honestly it’s on to the next.”

Ujiri, who was speaking at a Raptors summer league game in Las Vegas, also touched on the free agency process, saying that he was confident right until the end that there was a chance Leonard would choose to re-sign.

The notoriously tight-lipped Leonard, who has virtually no social media presence, remained mum through the entire process publicly. His tenure in Toronto ended with a wild few days of free agency that included tracking trips to California by the plane owned by Raptors parent company Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.

Leonard reportedly agreed to a four-year $ 142 million US max contract.


Kawhi Leonard celebrates with hundreds of thousands of fans in downtown Toronto on June 17, days after he and the Raptors won the NBA championship. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

While Raptors fans were gutted, the mood was overwhelmingly one of appreciation for the player who arrived last summer in the blockbuster deal that sent DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio.

“I appreciate what the process was and I know free agency, this was not my first rodeo, so things are going to go up and down and this was a different kind of free agency,” said Ujiri.

“It was high stakes and we understood that.”

Leonard produced one of the best playoff performances in league history to bring the NBA championship to Canada for the first time.

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Masai Ujiri says he’s staying with Raptors, hopes to convince Kawhi Leonard to do same

Masai Ujiri says he appreciates the interest from other NBA clubs, but his roots are in Toronto.

The Raptors president held an end-of-season press conference Tuesday, in which he talked about his future in Toronto, winning an NBA championship and the growth of basketball in Africa and Canada.

Reports surfaced shortly after the Raptors won their first NBA title that the Washington Wizards were preparing a lucrative offer to lure Ujiri out of Toronto.

Ujiri’s wife is from Washington, and the Wizards were reportedly offering an ownership stake in the team.

The native of Zaria, Nigeria called other teams expressing interest in him a “blessing,” but said he is happy in Toronto, has been able to grow with the Raptors and his two kids are Canadian.

Ujiri also said he has met with superstar Kawhi Leonard, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the month. While he called the meetings “positive” he didn’t give any details of the discussions.


In a wide-ranging one-hour availability, Ujiri emphatically expressed his determination for the team to deliver on the sport’s biggest stage in the future.

“We want to experience this moment here again and again and again,” he said.

The Raptors won the NBA title for the first time in the franchise’s 24-year history earlier this month with a six-game victory over Golden State.

Leonard was the anchor throughout the post-season and he guided the Raptors again in the final, eventually breaking down the injury-riddled two-time defending champion Warriors.

Toronto won three times at Oracle Arena, with a 114-110 win in Game 6 serving as the clincher.

WATCH | Analysis of Masai Ujiri’s post-NBA championship press conference:

CBC Sports’ Sophia Jurksztowicz breaks down the Raptors president’s end-of-season press conference. 7:00

The subject of Leonard’s future has been a hot topic since he arrived in Toronto last summer in a blockbuster deal with San Antonio.

A superstar in his prime, the Raptors would love to build around him for years to come. Leonard, who can soon begin negotiating with other teams as a free agent, is one of the league’s best two-way players and has proven he gets results.

It would be difficult for Toronto to make a stronger pitch for his return.


Leonard was adored by the team’s fanbase and was impressed when an estimated two million fans and supporters descended on the downtown core for a parade and celebration last week.

The Raptors won the Atlantic Division with a 58-24 record before dispatching Orlando, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Golden State. After missing most of last season due to injury, the team used a ‘load management’ system to build Leonard up ahead of the playoffs.

It paid off as Leonard delivered one of the strongest post-season performances in recent memory.

Two other key starters also have decisions to make. Raptors centre Marc Gasol has a player option for next season and swingman Danny Green is an unrestricted free agent.

In addition, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka are both entering the final season of their lucrative three-year contracts.

Leonard is the critical domino both for the Raptors and the NBA free-agent scene.

His decision will have a huge impact on whether Toronto will be a favourite in the East next year and it will likely affect other signings with the Raptors and throughout the league.

“We have to be ourselves and we were ourselves the whole year,” Ujiri said. “I think he saw that. I think we built a trust there.”

WATCH | Ujiri’s complete end-of-season press conference:

The Raptors president discusses his hopes to re-sign Kawhi Leonard, his incident with police in Oakland and a number of other topics on Tuesday in Toronto. 57:14

Ujiri declined to into details on an interaction with a sheriff’s deputy as he tried to access the court area immediately after the Raptors won Game 6.

Authorities in Oakland, Calif., are investigating and the Raptors have said they are co-operating and gathering information on their own.

Ujiri admitted some mistakes were made with last week’s parade and celebration, which was delayed for over three hours as buses slowly made their way along the overcrowded route.


“That was a very unfortunate situation,” Ujiri said. “But we’re learning. It’s our first time.”

The city and its partners have said they plan to review the planning process. Hundreds of thousands of people spent hours packed in a main square at city hall without ready access to water or washrooms.

Others found themselves caught in a terrifying situation when gunfire erupted near the square late in the proceedings. Three people were arrested.

Ujiri was also asked about the possibility of the team making a traditional championship visit to Ottawa to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and/or to Washington to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Ujiri said the team would collectively make a decision, but he thought the priority would be to go to the Canadian capital.

The Raptors’ championship was Canada’s first title in one of the Big Four sports (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB) since the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993.

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Deputy in clash with Raptors president Masai Ujiri considering lawsuit, says lawyer

A deputy suffered a concussion, a jaw injury, and is on medical leave after an altercation with a Toronto Raptors executive as he tried to join his team on the court to celebrate their NBA championship, a lawyer said Tuesday.

David Mastagni Sr., of the Sacramento-based Mastagni Holstedt law firm, said the 20-year veteran of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office is considering filing a lawsuit against team president Masai Ujiri.

“We’re weighing options right now,” Mastagni told The Canadian Press. “The main goal is for the officer to get well, to take care of his health and get back to work.”

The clash between the unidentified deputy and Ujiri was alleged to have occurred as the deputy checked court-access credentials after Thursday’s game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

Authorities say Ujiri tried to walk past the deputy but the deputy stopped him because he didn’t see Ujiri’s on-court credentials.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly alleged Ujiri pushed the deputy, who pushed him back before Ujiri “made a second, more significant shove and during that shove his arm struck our deputy in the side of the head.” Kelly said Ujiri also shouted obscenities.


Several bystanders intervened and Ujiri got onto the court without displaying any credentials, Kelly alleged.

Investigators were questioning witnesses and the office hopes to file a report to prosecutors this week recommending a misdemeanour battery charge against Ujiri, Kelly said. They are also reviewing footage from body cameras worn by the deputy along with footage from the arena surveillance system and cellphones.

The office does not plan to release the deputy’s body camera footage to the public during the investigation, said Kelly, who confirmed the officer is on medical leave.

The Raptors said last week the team was co-operating with the investigation and gathering information on its own. The team had no further comment Tuesday.

Warriors fan Greg Wiener, who witnessed the altercation, said last week the incident began when the deputy put his hand on Ujiri’s chest and pushed him. Ujiri shoved him back before bystanders intervened, Wiener said.

He also said then that there was no conversation between the deputy and Ujiri. But on Tuesday, he told The Associated Press that he remembered the officer shouting, “No one gets on the court without credentials.”


Wiener said he recalled the detail “after thinking about it all weekend.”

Kelly said his office is investigating along with the Oakland Police Department. Mastagni, meanwhile, said there’s no timeline in place for a decision on a potential lawsuit.

“The strike was unprovoked,” Mastagni alleged. “He received, unprovoked, a significant hit to his jaw causing a serious concussion, a templar mandibular joint injury, which is a serious joint injury. He is off work and disabled. He wants to go back to work.”

Kelly said last week that rather than arrest Ujiri on international television, the department decided to take the “high road” and file a misdemeanour complaint to local prosecutors.

“I can’t tell the District Attorney what to do, she can take the case in under consideration and then she could wait weeks or even months,” he said Tuesday. “She has up to a year to make a decision. That being said, I would imagine that a decision would be likely made in relatively quick time.”

Kelly said he worked Game 4 in the series and was well-versed in the credential process at the venue. Since Game 6 had the potential to be a title-clinching game, an additional credential was required for post-game on-court access.

“NBA security is already a tier-one security type event, a national security event, but this game was even ramped up more,” Kelly said. “So we had several meetings before, during and after the game.

“But our marching orders in regards to security at the event from the NBA security director was that nobody is allowed on the court without a trophy credential and a follow-up yellow wristband with the trophy credential.”

Kelly added the investigation was ongoing, but alleged Ujiri did not have correct accreditation to access the court at that time.

“We were given explicit instructions that even if it was an executive or an owner that they too were not allowed on the court without the proper credentials,” he said. “It was a zero-tolerance policy.”

Ujiri has yet to publicly comment or hold a season-ending media availability after the Raptors’ first NBA title. He was on hand at Monday’s championship parade and celebration in downtown Toronto.

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Raptors' Masai Ujiri yet to confirm coach Casey's status for next season

On a day Dwane Casey was honoured by his peers as this season's finest coach in the NBA, his job security in Toronto remained a mystery.

Hours after Casey won the Michael H. Goldberg coach of the year award, which is handed out by the National Basketball Coaches Association, the 61-year-old was questioned about his future in Toronto after the Raptors were ushered out of the post-season by Cleveland for the third straight year.

Will he be back next season?

"Nobody's told me any differently and until they do, I'm still here, still fighting, still scratching, still meeting with players, and that's all I can do," Casey said. "They haven't changed my key lock. Door still opens. I had some meetings with Masai [Ujiri] talking about what we can do better, what we can do better next year to get over the hump. Until that changes, I'm still here."

The NBCA award is separate from the NBA's Red Auerbach Trophy as top coach, presented June 25 and voted on by media around the league. Casey is the front-runner for that award as well.

Casey led the Raptors to a franchise-record 59 victories in the regular season, including 34 wins at home. That secured Toronto its fifth Atlantic Division title and the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

But LeBron James and his Cavaliers undid all the positivity of the regular season in four second-round games, prompting cries of "same old Raptors."

Ujiri noncommittal

Ujiri was noncommittal about Casey's future on Wednesday, except to say he'll evaluate everything about the organization in the coming days and weeks.

"Coach Casey has been unbelievable for our organization and I treat it the same exact way that we've done every year, including the years that we've done well — to go back and look at everything," the Raptors president said at Biosteel Centre. "I'm having conversations with coach Casey, same exact way I had conversations with him last year, two years ago."

The Raptors' historic season came after Ujiri called for a "culture reset" last off-season.

He joked in Wednesday's traditional season-ending press conference, saying off the top: "I can't pull the culture reset off this year, can I?"

2nd unit became envy of the league

Under Ujiri's reset, the Raptors revamped their offence around improved three-point shooting and better ball movement, and focused on developing the bench. The Raptors' second unit became the envy of the league, and Toronto was the only team in the playoffs that had finished in the top five in both offence and defence in the regular season.

"What these guys have done will remain in history in this organization. No question about it. I think we have to respect that. Forget the noise and what everybody says," Ujiri said. "It's incredible where we've come in the last five years — and that's not a pat on the back — but we go through stages of winning, and maybe we're going through a stage. I believe in this. I believe in the city.

"When people talk about greats, they come and go. Kobe came and went, Jordan. Casey will come and go, I will, Kyle (Lowry). But Toronto basketball will be here for 100 years and will stay here. Anyone who wants to poke fun, hey, we're proud of the moments we've spent here, and we're really proud of what's going to come after this."

A step closer

But Ujiri believes these playoffs showed the Raptors were a step closer to their goal of reaching the NBA finals. He pointed to Game 1 against Cleveland, with its numerous potential game-turning moments. The Raptors never trailed in regulation, but lost by a point in overtime, undone by so many near misses it was almost comical — along with an officiating gaffe. Had Toronto opened the series with a win, they might have written a different second-round story, Ujiri believes.

"There was a level of that game that was shock, and I hate to criticize anything, but I tell you the margin of error is this small," he said. "I don't know how many people feel it as much as these guys feel it, I don't know what other jobs are like this where it's all comes down to wins and losses.

"If a flagrant foul is called and looked at, does it go a different way? I don't know," added Ujiri, referencing Kevin Love's elbow on DeMar DeRozan in the final minute that the officials refused to review, but admitted the next day they'd got it wrong. The right call would have given DeRozan two free throws and Toronto possession of the ball.

"I know one thing, we've come to a point in this league where we deserved for us to go look at that play. So that might not be the reason. We missed a hundred layups, we had 400 turnovers. But all I'm saying is the margin of error is this small and that's the playoffs."

29 disappointed teams

Losing to Cleveland for a third straight season made Toronto a laughing stock on social media. .LeBronto was trending on Twitter.

But Ujiri said his belief in the team, which was the second-youngest in the playoffs, hasn't faltered.

"There was a point where we're trying to make the playoffs, trying to make the playoffs, trying to make the playoffs, and now we're in there and we're trying to success in the playoffs," he said.

"Maybe it's the stage that we're going to go through. Because you know what? People can make fun of anything they want on the internet, make fun of the team, make fun of getting beat and all that stuff. Hey, one team in the NBA is going to win the NBA championship and 29 teams are going to be disappointed and we're one of them."

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CBC | Sports News