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Ujiri takes over as Raptors GM
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On May 31, 2013 @ 6:21 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
Denver general manager and NBA executive of the year Masai Ujiri has an agreement in principle to join the Toronto Raptors, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the hiring had not yet been finalized.
Ujiri’s deal is expected to include five guaranteed years, and is worth approximately $15 million. He was making approximately $500,000 annually with the Nuggets, though it’s believed they offered a raise to $1.2 million annually in an attempt to convince him to stay.
While Ujiri met with the new president of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Tim Leiweke, in Vail, Colo. on Saturday and spent the following days contemplating his future, the Raptors held off on interviewing other candidates while waiting for his decision. There’s a certain symmetry to his career path now: Ujiri’s hiring as Nuggets general manager in 2010 was a reunion of sorts after he’d served as a Denver scout earlier in his career, and he’ll now rejoin a Raptors team for which he worked as an assistant general manager before taking the job as Denver’s GM.
Yet while the salary and Leiweke’s convincing recruiting efforts were too much for Ujiri to pass up, Ujiri’s is relationship with Nuggets team president and son of owner Stan Kroenke, Josh Kroenke, made his decision tough. The Nuggets gave him his first legitimate NBA opportunity after he came over from his native Nigeria, when he began his scouting days in Denver after working as an unpaid intern in Orlando previously.
Ironically, Ujiri will be replacing his old boss, as former general manager Bryan Colangelo was placed on the team’s business side earlier this month. The Raptors also added a personal component to their pitch, offering to support Ujiri’s foundations in Africa that he has made a priority for so long.
Ujiri worked wonders with the Nuggets roster during his short time there. Only Ty Lawson remains from the team that he had at the start. His tenure began with a bang, as he rebuffed lesser offers for Carmelo Anthony in his first summer … [For more on Masai Ujiri takes over as Toronto Raptors GM, click here.]
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