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Report: Raptors going after Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri to take over organization

May 18, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

Masai Ujiri Getty Images

Toronto has until Monday to decide the fate of Bryan Colangelo as GM and the guy steering the Raptors ship — do they pick up his option for next season or release him?

It looks more and more like the new management of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment — which owns the Raptors — wants to go another direction. Which is what they should do. There have been Phil Jackson rumors, but those were always a long shot.

So now they reportedly are turning their eyes to Masai Ujiri, the Nuggets GM, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Masai, the 2013 NBA Executive of the Year, has emerged as the top choice of the search firm – Korn/Ferry International – that’s been charged with finding a successor to Raptors president Bryan Colangelo, league sources said….

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.

If you are asking why he would jump, the answer is money — right now he is one of the lowest paid GMs in the league. Last year Neil Olshey jumped from the Clippers to the Trial Blazers for pretty much the same reason. You’d jump to a different job for a lot more money, too. Welcome to capitalism.

But the Nets came after Ujiri a year ago and he turned them down. He could do that again here to stay where he is comfortable, and maybe the Nuggets will up their offer to him. But it shows that people are targeting Ujiri and that the Raptors are willing to spend big to reshape their front office and eventually roster.

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