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TORONTO - When the Raptors reconvened in Washington following Februarys All-Star break, Dwane Casey had a hand-drawn contract wa

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von jokergreen0220 • Gaser Lehrling III | 179 Beiträge

TORONTO - When the Raptors reconvened in Washington following Februarys All-Star break, Dwane Casey had a hand-drawn contract waiting for them. Salvador Perez Royals Jersey . It wasnt legally binding. "It probably wouldnt hold up in court," Casey joked. It was more of a symbolic gesture. "[It was] a document committing to the team, committing to the process, leaving their egos at the door." With two-to-three sentences scribbled up top and a row of lines indicating where to sign, Casey had everybody pledge allegiance to the (Raptors) claw. Players, coaches, trainers, equipment managers, the media relations staff, everyone came up to sign, one-by-one. The first signature belonged to Kyle Lowry. "If [they] didnt want to sign it, you would have been able to tell right off the bat, if guys wanted to read it," said the Raptors head coach, who kept the contract in his briefcase, traveling around with it for the duration of the season. "Everybody stepped up and didnt hesitate and the next night we went out and beat [the Wizards]. Guys probably forgot they signed it, but I didnt" "Im all in, was the head of the document. And they were." On Tuesday, Masai Ujiri and the Raptors went all in on Casey and, in two months, they will do so with the teams core group of players, namely Lowry, making every effort to keep the band together. A year ago, just around this time, Casey and former general manager Bryan Colangelo met with the media to deliver their annual end-of-season post-mortem. They conducted their press conferences separately, unsure of their own futures, let alone the direction of the organization. Now, Ujiri sat adjacent to Casey at the podium, announcing that he and his coach have agreed to a new three-year deal, using this strange, foreign word over and over again; "continuity". "We plan on growing as a team," Ujiri said. "Im not going to make any crazy, quick-fix decisions here. We want to keep building and one of the things weve talked about is continuity." If you take one thing away from Tuesdays proceedings its that message. Ujiri has every intention of doubling down on this past seasons surprising success. Naturally, Casey was the first domino, a quick decision, no-brainer and an easy deal to get done. In his third year with Toronto, Casey led his team to a division title and franchise-record 48-win season before bowing out in the seventh game of the conference quarterfinals. He has more than earned the opportunity to stay on and see this through. In fact, Ujiri was hoping to open talks of an extension with his coach in late March, but as the team stumbled - they had lost four of six games at the time - Caseys preference was to hold off until the end of the season. With that said, the 57-year-old never intended to test the market or throw his hat in the ring for another job. He felt it would be disingenuous and knew where he wanted to be. "My heart is here, my mind is here," Casey said. "Im committed to this organization and to these players going forward." Locking up Casey was the first step, and a logical one. For him, it made little sense to jump ship now and start fresh elsewhere, likely with a losing program, after working hard to change the culture and build an identity in Toronto. The real sales pitch will come in two months, when Lowry - an impending free agent - must decide whether to finish what he started with the Raptors or make like so many stars of the franchises oh-so-painful past and split. Thats why this day was important, thats why it was necessary. Ujiri and Casey were at the podium for over 46 minutes. They were speaking, at least indirectly, to Lowry. "Its very important for us, in terms of continuity," Ujiri said, using that word again - "continuity" - when asked about re-signing Lowry. "For me, negotiating is easy if we want Kyle to be here and Kyle wants to be here." "I think well be fair with Kyle and well figure it out and I think its important. So well go through that process but were optimistic stuff will happen." With Casey in place at the helm of the ship, Lowry knows exactly what he would be signing up for and familiarity - or "continuity" - could go a long way in wooing the star point guard. Despite various reports of a rocky start to their relationship, Casey and Lowry have become close. Theyve lost together, theyve grown together and most importantly theyve won together. "Kyle came into a tough situation," Casey admitted before using a fantastically strange, albeit accurate, metaphor. "Its almost like coming into a relationship where you already have a girlfriend and a new girl comes in, because Jose [Calderon] was already here. We already understood Jose knew the system, he knew the calls. Kyle came in trying to learn them, and Kyle is a very prideful man and should be. Kyle came into that situation as kind of second fiddle and if you know Kyle, hes not a second fiddle kind of guy." "But again, he grew from that. Once Jose was traded, it got closer, it got closer. He understood what we were doing, I understood what he was going to do in certain situations [and] trusted him." Ironically enough, the two bonded at the wedding of former Raptor Rudy Gay, Lowrys best friend, last summer when they were able to get to know each other away from basketball. This summer should start off quietly for the Raptors, at least over the next couple of months. With Casey now part of the recruiting party, the focus immediately shifts to locking up Lowry, a process that they can begin on July 1. Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez - who spoke passionately about his desire to return on Monday - are both restricted free agents and also appear to be part of Ujiris offseason plan. "As far as Im concerned, keeping our core group going forward, with Kyle Lowry, Greivis Vasquez and Patterson and Nando (De Colo), those guys are priorities for us," Ujiri acknowledged. "And if you want to build, I think, a team where we have young players, we have to build continuity. When free agency comes, we have to attack our guys first." Theres still "building" to be done, but its looking likely that those tweaks will be made around the teams current foundation. Internal growth will be crucial, as Casey alluded to. He wants Terrence Ross to get stronger, Jonas Valanciunas to expand his post game - hell work with hall of fame centre Hakeem Olajuwon this summer - and DeMar DeRozan to improve defensively. Its hard to believe that this franchise is just 12 months removed from a summer plagued by uncertainty and indecision, though theyve had their fair share of them over the years. It seems like decades ago now. For most of that year Ujiri kept us guessing. What was his plan? On Tuesday he laid out his blueprint. "For me, theres not going to be any crazy decisions made, theres no quick fix," the Raptors GM said. "Were a growing team, and were going to grow gradually. I really dont care what the expectations are. The way to build in this situation were in is to continue to give our young players the opportunity, to try and draft well and make sure we figure out the right players to sign." The Raptors know what they want and are making no effort to hide it - continuity. George Brett Jersey .com) - Nathan MacKinnon scored the winning goal in the shootout as the Colorado Avalanche rallied for a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday. Lorenzo Cain Jersey . Ive said it before, Ive worked with top pros and I could have made my own program. http://www.authentickcroyalsprostore.us/Kendrys-Morales-royals-jersey/ .com) - Tonight will go a long way in determining the two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.DOVER, Del. - Time for some cuts, Chase style.NASCARs revamped Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format is set for its first elimination race, when four of 16 drivers will be out of the title picture by Sunday night.Win and advance — and theyll all have to zip by Kevin Harvick to have a chance at Victory Lane.Harvick turned a lap at 162.933 mph to win the pole Friday at Dover International Speedway, leading the field for the third Chase race. Led by Harvick, Chase drivers took the top four spots and six of 10.Harvicks seventh pole of the season gives him one more than he had combined in his career entering this season. And it makes him one of the drivers to beat in a race where championship hopes are on the line.The bottom four are dumped from the hunt: Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola are at risk of getting cut Sunday.Hamlin, though, bolstered his bid to stay alive with a third-place qualifying run.Its the most important race of my career because its the most significant of my career, Hamlin said. Weve got to get past this weekend with a shot to win the title. If not, you become somewhat irrelevant.Team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are locked into the next round with wins in the first two Chase races.Kyle Busch starts second and Keselowski is fourth. Jeff Gordon is sixth and Hendrick Motorsports teammate and nine-time Dover wiinner Jimmie Johnson is eighth. Frank White Jersey. The rest of the Chase field has Kasey Kahne 12th, Matt Kenseth 14th, Logano 16th, Carl Edwards 18th, Ryan Newman 20th, Almirola 21st, Kurt Busch 22nd, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 25th, Biffle 27th, and AJ Allmendinger 28th.Only six points separate Hamlin and Kurt Busch from Newman in the 12th and final spot.I believe if I run top five, Ill put myself in, Hamlin said. A lot of things can happen. A lot of people that had bad luck last week are going to have a rebound week. We just hope to be on the better side of all those guys when it unfolds.Kurt Busch is eight points outside the 12th-place cutoff and Almirola is 10. The top seven drivers in the field would need a ton of bad luck to fall out of a Chase spot, while Kenseth, Edwards, Allmendinger, Kahne and Newman are all on the bubble.I do understand the consequences of this race are higher than any of the other ones weve run this year, but thats kind of fun, Edwards said.Jamie McMurray was the highest non-Chase qualifier in fifth. Tony Stewart starts 15th in his first race since a grand jury decided he would not be charged in Kevin Ward Jr.s death.Harvick, who drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, is winless in 27 career starts at Dover.We feel like were in good shape, and we just want to keep building on the momentum we have to try to further that to lead into Kansas, he said. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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