SPORTS

Raptors remain status quo at trade deadline in "vote of confidence" for team

02/19/2015 06:01 EST | Updated 04/21/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri made no deals on Thursday's NBA trade deadline in a "huge vote of confidence" for the players he has.

"Vote of confidence to our players, to our team, to coach (Dwane Casey), keep plugging away," Ujiri said. "We've made a commitment, trying to give this group a chance."

Ujiri did field calls Thursday — "There's always calls in the NBA, you just have to pick which ones you feel like you need to do."

But he wasn't close to making a deal, he said. The Raptors are 36-17 and second in the Eastern Conference, and Ujiri likes the makeup of his team. Keeping it intact, he said, was a nod to the chemistry the Raptors have.

"No question," he said. "They play well together, they believe in each other, and hey, go forward. We have 29 games left. . . they do play well together, there's good chemistry on the team, and with the coaches, so we'll keep plugging away."

The Raptors face a tough road ahead. Following the nine-day all-star break, they're back in action on Friday, when they play the East-leading Hawks in Atlanta. It's the first of six games in eight days, and the first of four in a row on the road. It's also the first of five straight against teams with winning records — Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans, Dallas and Golden State.

"We have a difficult patch here coming, but we'll try to grind it out and finish this last stretch," Ujiri said.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said the organization, by not making trades at the deadline, is making a commitment to its players. Now it's up to them.

"We're sticking with our guys. These are the guys we believe in," he said after practice in Atlanta. "Our development and our growth and our progress is going to depend on how fast our guys grow."

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