May 31, 2013, 5:41 PM EST
Nuggets GM and current NBA Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri couldn’t turn down the combination of more money and more power— he is leaving the Denver Nuggets to take over as the guy in charge of basketball operations for the Toronto Raptors.
That according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Ujiri reportedly made $500,000 last year, so it’s hard to turn down the pay raise. And the increased power. Confirmation of this is expected from the teams soon.
Ujiri grew up in the Raptors organization, this was the one team that was a draw to him outside of Denver. Denver made a classy move letting Ujiri — whose contract didn’t expire until June — a chance to speak with Toronto. Ujiri gave them a chance to make an offer, but it appears the Nuggets couldn’t match.
Ujiri just won the NBA Executive of the Year award for how he rebuilt the Denver roster in the wake of Carmelo Anthony forcing his way out of town. He will be missed in the Rocky Mountains.
This is a real coup for Toronto — they had been a rudderless organization for years under Bryan Colangelo, a collection of players with seemingly no big picture plan or system.
Ujiri will bring a better big-picture view. There are some good players — Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas — on the roster but also a lot of questions about style and fit. Plus some tough financial decisions (they are at the luxury tax line for next season already if everyone comes back). Ujiri is the perfect guy to make those calls.
Denver will start its search for a replacement immediately. The draft is coming up in a month so there is a time crunch here.
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Tuesday: The Hawks clinched playoff spot in front of Josh Smith 0
- Nuggets need to decide direction, then hire coach 18
- Report: Russell Westbrook ‘likely’ to return to Thunder lineup Wednesday, will wear protective mask 13
- Nuggets have fired head coach Brian Shaw 29
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: Goran Dragic got his revenge in concentrated form 5
- League suspends James Harden one game for kick to LeBron James’ groin 23
- PBT’s weekly NBA Power Rankings: Hawks seem to be out of malaise. Maybe. 11
- Report: Jimmy Butler could miss three to four weeks with elbow injury 7