Report: Raptors targeting Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri for top exec position
The Toronto Raptors are pursuing Denver Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri, the 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year, in hopes of making him their top basketball executive, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.
Toronto has been searching for a successor to current president and GM Bryan Colangelo, with even Phil Jackson’s name coming up as a possibility.
The team’s owner, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, has until Monday to make a decision on Colangelo’s contract for next season, according to Yahoo! Sports, and he could remain with the Raptors under the new top executive.
Ujiri was hired as the Raptors’ Director of Global Scouting in 2007 and served as their assistant GM in 2008 and ’09 before accepting his position with the Nuggets and guiding them to the playoffs after a successful trade of star Carmelo Anthony.
From the report:
Ujiri’s contract as Denver’s general manager expires this summer and he has been in talks with ownership on an extension. Ujiri, 42, has a strong bond with Nuggets CEO Josh Kroenke, but new MLSE top executive, Tim Leiweke, has expressed a desire to make a serious financial and organizational commitment to an elite executive to turn around the franchise.
Ujiri has developed into the most well-respected and sought-after executive in sports. Ujiri is the first African-born GM in North American sports, and his ascension to stardom from modest beginnings has become something of league folklore.
The Philadelphia 76ers pursued Ujiri for their GM job a year ago, but he declined their interest. Nevertheless, Ujiri’s history in Toronto and the commitment of the MLSE company to resurrecting the Raptors could make this a harder decision for Ujiri, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Ujiri is one of the NBA’s lower paid GMs.