COMMENTARY | New president and CEO of MLSE, Tim Leiweke, promised to make a bold move in naming a new general manager of the Toronto Raptors and he succeeded by stealing Masai Ujiri, the current Executive of the Year, away from the Denver Nuggets.
"We feel very lucky to have Masai in our organization. He is a proven judge of talent and we look for him to be a big part of creating a winning atmosphere, leading us to the playoffs and, ultimately, delivering NBA championships for Toronto," Leiweke said in a statement released to the media. "I would also like to publicly thank the Kroenke's in Denver for being such a class organization that they would allow Masai to pursue his dream. They put him first in all of our discussions."
Ujiri spent three years with the Raptors after joining the team as director of global scouting in 2007. He was elevated to assistant general manager in 2008.
The details of his contract have yet to be confirmed, but early reports indicate that Ujiri signed a five-year deal worth $15 million.
"To come back to the Raptors, to live in such a great city, and work in an organization that has committed all the resources necessary to win championships was a huge factor in the decision," Ujiri said in a press release to the media. "I have already developed a great relationship with Tim Leiweke and I can't wait to get back to Canada to build a team that is poised to take the next step in the NBA."
Ujiri may have taken his time in deciding to come to Toronto - nearly a week - but he won't have nearly as much time to make some important personnel decisions as the NBA Draft is less than a month away.
The first decision he has to make is if he will retain the services of current head coach Dwane Casey. Early reports indicate that Casey will be given at least one more season as Toronto's head coach.
Also on Ujiri's plate is what he'll do with Toronto's glut of wings, lack of depth at point guard and the lack of any draft picks in the upcoming draft. It will be interesting to see if DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields and Rudy Gay are still on the roster when Toronto opens training camp in October.
There's also the issue of if the team will amnesty Andrea Bargnani or Linas Kleiza.
Regardless of how things shake out, it looks like it will be a busy summer for the Raptors and an interesting for for fans as Ujiri looks to return to Toronto to clean house after Bryan Colangelo made a mess out of the franchise.
A cleaning up of the roster is just what Leiweke wants from his new general manager and his first splashy move as CEO of MLSE.
- Sports & Recreation
- Toronto Raptors
- Masai Ujiri
- Tim Leiweke
- Denver Nuggets