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Raptors prepared to triple Masai Ujiri’s salary

May 24, 2013, 12:51 PM EDT

Masai Ujiri AP

The Raptors’ pursuit of Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri is kicking into high gear. Toronto received permission to speak with Ujiri, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke is aggressively pursuing Ujiri to become the Raptors’ general manager and plans to present an offer that will pay him nearly $3 million annually over the course of a multiyear contract, league sources said.

Ujiri’s contract with the Nuggets expires on June 30 and it’s possible an agreement can be struck that will allow him to leave sooner.

Ujiri is one of the NBA’s lowest-paid general managers, making below $1 million a year.

The NBA Draft is June 27, so for this to make sense, Ujiri would have to leave well before his contract expires. If the Nuggets are allowing Ujiri to speak with Toronto, it sounds like they’re amenable to working something out. And if the Raptors are will to give Ujiri $3 million per year, it sounds like they’d be willing to pay Denver a penalty – either directly or via Ujiri – for Ujiri breaking his contract.

If the Raptors can clear all the hurdles, this would be a major coup. Ujiri, the reigning Execute of the Year, successfully navigated the Carmelo Anthony trade and turned the Nuggets into a deep, exciting team. The Raptors’ roster and cap situation needs plenty of work, but Ujiri is the best candidate to fix those issues.

  1. redbullenergydrink - May 24, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Nice salary! And here I am hoping I can one day make $100k/yr. Haha.

  2. 4thquartermagic - May 24, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Nuggets expected this.
    Allowing him to speak with Toronto is merely a formality.
    I expect Josh Kroenke to match any offer Masai gets from Toronto.

    • bucrightoff - May 24, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      I think you’re underestimating how desperately the Raptors want him. If they Nuggets match the triple the salary offer, the Raptors will come over the top with an even better offer.

      • 4thquartermagic - May 24, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        Fair enough. But understanding that 3x his original salary was not much of starting point for negotiations as Masai was one of the lowest paid GMs in the league.

        In the Kroenke Sports empire (with NHL, NFL, and pro soccer teams, etc.) the Nuggets are the billionaires #1 love. I doubt they (father Stan, Son Josh) would stunt the development of a promising franchise over a measly (for them) millions.

        Little fact that no one chooses to remember is that the year the Nuggets went to the western conference finals. Kroenke footed the $14 million luxury tax tab in order to put that squad on the floor.

        Nuggets ownership puts its money where its mouth is, to win. Which is why I don’t mind spending $9.00 for a beer at the Pepsi Center… At least mind as much.

      • bucrightoff - May 24, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        I ultimately think he stays in Denver, Toronto is not in a good situation and needs a lot of work, whereas he’s put in a lot of work to build up Denver, who is way closer to contending than Toronto. Basically if he chooses the Raptors its because he wants the challenge.

  3. ryanafung - May 24, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Actually, Ujiri went to Denver from Toronto so there is a level of familiarity already. Not sure how much he wants to work with colangelo though given that he used to be his boss…

  4. jbeagles23 - May 24, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Mlse can afford to match any money Denver throws his way. They also own a soccer team and a hockey team that sells out every single night for years with very high ticket prices

    • 4thquartermagic - May 24, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      Which is why Denver is allowing Toronto to put the first bid in.
      Then Denver will match it and then some.

      All things being equal salary wise, I don’t see why Masai leaves.

      Denver = Good team (he helped build) on the cusp of being a great team
      Toronto = Rebuilding.

      Advantage, Denver.

      • stayhigh_247 - May 25, 2013 at 1:15 AM

        true, but Denver is nowhere if George Karl wasn’t the coach. So he deserves a lot of credit but not all of it. Hopefully Denver at least matches the offer and pays the man his worth, if not, he should bounce.

  5. robdog0721 - May 24, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    No way the Kronecheaps will pay like that.

  6. robdog0721 - May 24, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    KroenkeCheaps..(my bad)

  7. jbeagles23 - May 24, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    They definitely had a huge advantage to keep him should it be dollar for dollar but I the raptors go all in there’s no saying Denver will match them. He could see it as a slap in the face that he put together a phenomenal young team in Denver while being paid peanuts. Or could leave for the challenge of building another strong team

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