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Raptors’ Kyle Lowry, Masai Ujiri reconnect

Orlando Magic v Toronto Raptors - Game Two

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 16: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors looks on during Game Two of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Orlando Magic at Scotiabank Arena on April 16, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

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After Toronto traded DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry gave Raptors president Masai Ujiri the cold shoulder.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Then came this February in the days leading up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline. Lowry and Ujiri had a long-awaited, and possibly overdue formal sit-down for the first time since the DeRozan deal. It was vocal and engaging, impassioned and, according to Lowry, worthwhile. They shared their feelings on what had lead up to that moment, placed their thoughts in front of each other and strategized on how to move forward … together.

“It was a well-needed conversation,” Lowry told The Athletic. “It was a very professional conversation and it had to be done. We had to get everything on the table. Listen, ‘Let’s have this conversation, let’s get everything out on the table, and move on.’ And that’s what grown men do. They have conversations, they figure it out, and you move on.

I’m glad this happened. Lowry and Ujiri have been through so many highs and lows together, and their competitive personalities match. Only stubbornness kept them apart so long.

As Lowry explained during times of greater tension, he focused on playing and let Ujiri focus on running the team. Both are professional enough to do their jobs amid turmoil. But everything operates more smoothly – and is just more enjoyable – when people get along personally.

Up next: DeRozan and Ujiri mending fences. That one might take longer, but I bet it’ll happen.