Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Toughness: Ujiri Wants to Remake Toronto Raptors "Soft" Image

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Toughness: Ujiri Wants to Remake Toronto Raptors "Soft" Image

Article excerpt

Ujiri wants to remake Raptors image

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TORONTO - Masai Ujiri wants to remake the image of the Toronto Raptors, and with the expected addition of physical power forward Tyler Hansbrough, it's easy to see what he has in mind.

It's all about toughness.

"I'm tired of all this, people come here and everybody calls the team soft or call the team pushovers or all the stupid names," Ujiri said Wednesday. "You come to Canada and you come to play. That's the identity we're trying to build here. We are in Canada, and this is our team. We're going to be tough out there."

The general manager's declaration came the same day the deal became official that sent much-maligned centre Andrea Bargnani -- known for his lackadaisical play -- to the New York Knicks for perimeter shooter Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, 39-year-old centre Marcus Camby and draft picks.

"I'm very excited to be in Toronto, it's the only team that has the entire country behind it," said Novak, who was officially introduced to the Toronto media on Wednesday.

The hard-nosed Hansbrough is known for his all-out effort, and toughness around the rim. While Ujiri said the Raptors and Hansbrough had come to an agreement, he wouldn't confirm the deal was completely signed and sealed.

"We're hoping, it's one of those things in the NBA is you've agreed and you hope," Ujiri said. "There's no holdup, nothing at all, we've agreed. It's business, until you sign I don't want to talk about it, because you never know."

Hansbrough became a unrestricted free agent when the Indiana Pacers opted not to re-sign the 27-year-old after four seasons with the club.

The hard-nosed University of North Carolina product was drafted by the Pacers 13th overall in 2009, and averaged seven points and 4.6 rebounds last season.

As for Bargnani, Ujiri said the time had come time that the team and big Italian centre parted company. …

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