Tuesday, April 14, 2020 5:21 PM | CBN
On Monday, Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri said that his relationship with ex-coach Dwane Casey has improved significantly, although there is "still plenty of work to be done” for him to reach the same conclusion with DeMar DeRozan.
Two years ago, Casey was fired by Ujiri, who then traded DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard. Casey had been Toronto’s coach for seven seasons. DeRozan had been with Toronto for nine seasons.
"It's not easy," said Ujiri in an interview with TNT's Ernie Johnson that was broadcasted via the NBA's Twitter account. "If you have that human part of you, you feel it in your heart.
"I will never forget, I will never, ever forget having to do that with Coach Casey and walking to his office, waking up that morning. Many times I wanted to move it and change it or think that you're not making the right decision.
“It was incredibly hard, because Casey is an incredible person, and so great to work with. ... DeMar, I was in the hotel in Kenya, and I walked around that hotel at 4 a.m., 5 a.m., for a couple hours, trying to gather up enough strength and courage to make this phone call. I will never forget it.
"With Casey, it has gotten so much better now with his family and him. With DeMar there is still plenty of work to be done. But, by the grace of God, it will all get better. We have to continue to make these decisions that are tough. But that's the business of basketball, and the position that we are in."
Ujiri acknowledged trading a player and saying goodbye to a player leaving in free agency as “two of the hardest things in our world”.
“When a player is traded, it is hard on the player side, and when a player leaves, like us [with Leonard last summer], it is hard on that side. I've experienced all of it, from wonderful people.”
Sources: ESPN, NBA