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New-look Raptors ‘hungry’ for another title run

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Kawhi Leonard has moved on and Danny Green is gone, but the Toronto Raptors still have an NBA title to defend.

This season, a group led by All-Star guard Kyle Lowry, breakout talent Pascal Siakam and defensive standout Marc Gasol is turning “We the North” into “We Want More.”

“If I had to express it in one word, I would say ‘hungry,'” Gasol said Saturday when asked what he expects of the new-look Raptors. “I think it’s a very hungry team. We all understand what Kawhi meant to the team and how well he played in the playoffs. But we also understand how good we can be as a team, and we’re all going to invest everything in it to be that team.”buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Leonard signed a free-agent deal with the LA Clippers after leading Toronto to a six-game NBA Finals victory over Golden State in his lone season north of the border. Once Leonard passed on returning to the Raptors, Green did the same, signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.4

General manager Masai Ujiri, who traded franchise icon DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio to acquire Leonard and Green, insisted he had no reason to be upset with the way his big move worked out.

“That’s just the nature of the business,” Ujiri said. “We understand it and we move on as an organization. I think there are many bright spots with our team, whether it’s our veteran players, whether it’s our players coming up and the younger group we’re developing.”

Still, even Ujiri couldn’t fail to notice what had changed around him since the start of training camp last year, when he sat at the podium in front of a packed crowd, flanked by newcomers Leonard and Green. This year, Ujiri was on stage all by himself.

“I’m lonely,” he joked.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

One thing hasn’t changed: The Raptors still have talent. Lowry, Toronto’s longest-tenured player, has been an All-Star for five straight seasons. Siakam is poised to take another step after running away with the league’s Most Improved Player award last season, while Gasol, veteran Serge Ibaka and youngster OG Anunoby round out an imposing frontcourt.

“I think guys are going to step up, I think guys are up for the challenge,” Ujiri said.

The ultra-competitive Lowry certainly is. His expectation this season? Another title.

“It’s always the same goal for me,” Lowry said. “I’m more motivated than ever.”

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