Raptors eyeing Ujiri for GM vacancy?

As was first reported by Yahoo!Sports.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Toronto Raptors are targeting Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri for their vacant GM position after having dismissed Bryan Colangelo earlier this week. According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the Raptors are more than willing to make Ujiri one of the top paid executives in the league at over $2 million per year. Stein also claims Denver’s front office is confident in its ability to re-sign Ujiri to a new deal. Ujiri was rumored to be the lowest paid GM in the NBA under his previous deal that expired this year.

Prior to coming to Denver, Ujiri worked under Colangelo from 2008-10 as director of international scouting and later as assistant GM. According to SportsNet.ca’s Michael Grange, the Raptors have not fully eradicated Colangelo from the team, and should Ujiri be hired both the executives’ roles will have switched with Ujiri taking the responsibilities of head GM and Colangelo playing the part of the assistant.

For Nuggets fans this dilemma has a plain-as-day resolution: sign Ujiri to the contract he deserves and do not hesitate in the process. Make him the top paid GM in basketball and get on with life. There should be no delay; there should be no thought put into even considering letting him go. Good NBA GMs don’t make a lot of money when contrasted with players and in actuality are fairly underpaid considering how responsible they are for the direction of the team. Paying a couple million bucks more to retain the reining Executive of the Year is THE no-brainer of all no-brainers this off-season for the Nuggets. This is not a matter of frugality; it’s a matter of common sense. Let’s just hope the Kroenke’s feel the same way.

Stay tuned as more information comes to light. And as always…


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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.

Latest posts by Kalen Deremo (see all)

  • George “Gentlemen, just run” Karl

    I’m really pissed about Karl, but if the nuggets let Masai Ujiri walk then I am forever done with the nuggets.

    • Max

      I agree!!! I’ll become a Cavs fan instead.

  • Adrian Gonnella

    This would be the most tragic occurance during my Nuggets fandom. Equaled only by having to let go of Chauncey and see him in a Knicks & Clippers jersey.


  • S

    If we lose him it will be a travesty, I will question my loyalty to the team if we let him go.

  • Joel Dean

    Ujiri is pretty much the only GM to deal his superstar without exiting the playoffs, that is an incredible feat.
    -the cavs
    -the magic
    -the raptors
    -the jazz
    -the hornets

    ujiri stands alone. he has so far drafted kenneth faried and evan fournier and has a chance to bolster his drafting resume even further this year. he dealt nene for mcgee, which though mcgee is not great, nene was a pussy and always injured. he resigned kosta koufus for peanuts on what a guy like that should be paid. he resigned lawson. he dealt aaa, al buckets (who we missed dearly this season) and a 1st for Iggy, who was a terrific addition. He resigned Ty for a reasonable price, resigned Il Will for a good price and Gallo for a decent price.

    If the Raptors come poaching our boy because they suck at developing anything or anyone then I will be so pissed. Those assholes need to step up off our boy and find their own film editor to turn into GM of the year. I doubt Masai wants to go back into rebuilding. Though the Raptors have some nice pieces, who can the get to put them over?

    • Jimmy O

      Menphis dished Gay this year and are killing it in the playoffs this year

      • Zack

        Rudy Gay isn’t a superstar.

    • Riley

      You must be my brother or something

    • Corey

      It was the Magic who first “hired” him as an unpaid scout, then Kiki Vandeweghe was the first to pay him as a scout for the Nuggs for a few years. However, you might say it was the Raptors who “gave him his chance” by hiring him away from us as Director of global scouting, and the next year making him the assistant GM. THEN we signed him as (effectively) GM. So… poaching? I don’t think so…

  • Scott

    Whatnot you guys think about the draft order? I could see us trading up to 9th with Minnesota and taking McCollum. Question is if they would take Andre Miller, Koufos back again, #27 and maybe JHam best case scenario but more than likely we would have to give up Wilson. Our starting lineup would look like:
    Pg- Ty
    Sg- McCollum
    Sf- Iggy (hopefully)
    Pf- Manimal
    C- Javale
    Bench- Fournier, Mozgov (maybe), Corey (maybe), a better AR15, JHam, and a FA 3 pt scoring threat.

    • Max

      Not happening! Wolves need a shooter too. I bet they pick McCollum at 9 if he’s still there.

      Wizards could trade pick but #3 too high to pick McCollum.

      • Denver4ever

        why would the Wizards get McCollum when they already have Beal?

    • Corey

      Wilson IS a great all around player with a contract that’s great for the Nuggs. He just shot 41.3% from 3 pt land this season.

      McCollum MIGHT be a great all around player that MIGHT shoot better than 41.3%

      If we trade Wilson it better be a more proven talent or someone with more upside than McCollum

  • Woobly o Balls

    I don’t expect anyone to agree with me but I think we’ve had our fun and it’s time to follow convention and get our next franchise player by blowing it up.

    If there is a year to liquidate these assets and turn them into picks and young players it’s anywhere from now to the 2014 draft.

    I’d seriously consider trading everyone and anyone on the team. Maybe keep Lawson or Faried or both.

    I’d start this year by trying to get one of Noel, McLemore, Bennett or Oladipo. Obviously that’s a bit unrealistic but on paper it’s possible but not in the real world. Too risky

    If that’s unrealistic then Mccullom or Shabazz for some scoring. If we keep things together (we will), then these guys are realistic options as well if we package 27 with Wilson Chandler and a center or something.

    • http://espn herpderpnuggets

      I think trying to get stars through the draft is a good idea, but the nuggets can easily trade some assets right now for a star player. Excited to see what happens this offseason though.

    • Max

      Agree with you to a certain extent.

      Our most marketable player is Chandler because he’s solid, a number of teams need a small forward, and Ill Will has a good contract.

      We don’t want to trade Ty or Faried. Gallo hard to trade because he’s injured. McGee not that marketable.

      Miller is only going to a contending team who wants insurance at PG and we won’t get much in return from him.

      I think this is one off those off-seasons where it’s going to be addition by subtraction. Let Brewer go and give his minutes to a combo of Fournier and Hamilton. Trade Miller for whatever you can get and give him minutes to a combo of Fournier and Stone.

      Biggest thing this summer is Nuggets have to keep Iguodala if he opts out which is also best for Nuggets because if he doesn’t opt out he’s on the books next year for $16M and that would not allow us to go out and sign either Korver or Martell Webster. I’ve given up on trying to sign Redick–just don’t have the cap space.

      If the Nuggets want to make a big deal for Kevin Love or a sign and trade for Millsap then they would most likely have to trade Faried. Do we want that? I personally don’t think so at this time.

      • http://espn herpderpnuggets

        Agree. The only thing is I dont want to see kevin love or paul milsap on this team, way too slow to keep up with our tempo and coaching style. Iggy is really important, signing Korver/shooter is important, and getting rid of miller is REALLY important.

        • nugswin

          If you don’t think a dominating rebounder who is also a great outlet passer (full court type stuff), shoots 35% from 3-point and over 80% from the line, would fit into the team, well, I’m not sure what to say. Whether or not he would be a good get for Denver is an open question but to say that he couldn’t help us because he’s slow isn’t right.

          • Corey

            OK, then how about Love is too expensive for someone who is not good defensively and while 20 pts/game is good, he’s not someone you can run half court offense for–he’s another Faried that gets his points from hustle. Also, we DON’T need another 35% 3 pt shooter, we need a 45% 3 pt shooter.

            • nugswin

              “OK, then how about Love is too expensive for someone who is not good defensively. . .”

              Definitely a legitimate concern than Love might be too expensive for his production.

              “. . . he’s another Faried that gets his points from hustle”

              Um, this is absolutely wrong. Love plays hard, yes. But his game isn’t similar to Faried’s at all — Love is a better rebounder and a much better offensive player (in all aspects) who gets his points from skill, not hustle (this is crucial). The only similarity is that both struggle defensively in one-on-one situations.

              “Also, we DON’T need another 35% 3 pt shooter. . .”

              Getting the best rebounder in the league who also shoots 35% from beyond and over 80% from the stripe would be massive. Contrast that skill set to what we have now for bigs — and why the fact that our bigs are utterly devoid of those skills hurts us — and you’ll start to realize how well Love would fit on the squad (and pretty much any team).

              “. . .we need a 45% 3 pt shooter.”

              Yeah, doesn’t everybody? But nobody is going to get that from their power forward slot. That’s a whole different question.

              Look, Love isn’t the ideal player or the perfect, exact fit for Denver. And it’s no guarantee that he’s a max money level player. But he’s got a unique, high quality skill set that you just don’t find in inside, power players — good hands, good passing, good size, good range, and high hoops IQ. Plus, he’s still young, improving and by all appearances works hard and has good character.

              None of our bigs are ever going to be as good as he is even right now. None. Ever. I know we all love Manimal but he’ll never be as good as Kevin Love. It’s not even particularly close — you don’t make the USA Olympic team because you’re friends with Mike Kyzyzydukezyzyzsucksyzski or something. If, and it’s a big if, Minnesota is genuinely shopping Love, Ujiri would be a fool not to try and get in on that action. And the Nuggets minus just about anybody but with Love instead would be a better team. Whatever team that would get him other than us would immediately be a big threat — just as a healthy Minnesota team will be if they keep him — especially if it’s somebody like Houston or the Clippers.

              It’s probably a pointless discussion because the Wolves sent a signal to everybody when they put Love in their seat on the lottery podium. Not to mention that we’re in the same division as them which makes trades of impact far less likely. But, please, let’s not kid ourselves that he wouldn’t be a major impact player for us or whoever he might go to.

  • Woobly o Balls

    Can’t afford to lose our only true superstar. Kroenke isn’t afraid to doll out the big bucks

    • Michael

      First of all Stan Kroenke no longer cares about the Nugs he has other new shiny teams to grab his attention the Avs and Nugs mean nothing to him now. My biggest worry is that they will let Ujiri walk because little Kroenke wants a bigger say in personnel decisions.

  • http://yahoo.com prospector

    They throw the bank at McGee who Karl plays 15 mins a freaking game, and they punk MASAI…. Joshy boy needs to man up real fast…

  • mile high

    Masai is the one who brought in McGee and Masai is the one who threw Kroenke’s bank at McGee. Masai is also the GM who forgot to bring in a few reliable shooters, not just from 3 point range, but just from about anywhere 7 feet away from the rim!

    BTW, Masai also brilliantly amnestied the Birdman who has just helped Miami won the first Eastern Finals game with the following line: 18 minutes, 16 points, 7-7 shooting, 2-2 FTM-A, 5 rebounds, 3 blks. One’d think that Anderson would have been of help when McGee and company got pushed around by Bogut in the first round of the play-offs.

    Are you sure you want to pay him big bucks and make him the highest paid GM in the league? Get serious.

    • Mike K

      Some of the issues are also on the coach. Karl never wanted to play Anderson. I think he really only put him out there to not cause a riot at Pepsi Center. I don’t know if he shot Karl’s dog or what he did, but George Karl didn’t like having him around. I don’t think Masai had much choice but to amnesty him.

      We have a bench of young guys, any one of whom could be the 2nd coming of Reggie Miller or Ray Allen shooting the ball. We don’t know because our idiot of a coach won’t play young, unproven players. If Masai made any mistake, it was not showing Karl the door as the confetti fell in Oakland.

      Re-sign Masai, do it tomorrow, and stop dragging this out, Joshie Boy. Then let Masai trade out of this draft and work his magic and then let him put his foot down or in Karl’s ass to play everyone and let them prove their worth.

    • Riley

      This was the first great game birdman has had since he the boot. Not to mention that he is a CHILD PORNOGRAPHER! Or did you forget about that already. Seriously, use a better example than Birdman to criticize the GM of the year.

      • http://espn herpderpnuggets

        He’s not a child pornographer, the crazy lady that was sueing him dropped the case because she knew she wasnt gonna win.

    • Heath

      You’re dumb as fuck tell me what was the point in paying anderson that big contract he had, when Karl wasn’t playing him… And for the record he was playing terrible for us.. When you play with lebron your game is elavated.. So dont talk if you dont know what you’re talking about

    • Mike K

      Whatever your thoughts on Andersen, he’s doing well. Something about ex-Nuggets going elsewhere and thriving. That should raise serious eyebrows at our coaching and our development.

      That’s why it’s imperative to re-sign Masai and continue his process. The only obstacle is Karl and he’s gone after next season.

  • Ryan

    Andersen could still play, but he found his way into Karl’s doghouse, which meant he wasn’t going to play (like JHam this year). Since Andersen was one of the few players on the roster eligible for the amnesty provision, it’s hard to fault Masai for amnestying someone who wasn’t going to play. It also gave the Nuggets some cap flexibility.
    Now, one potential argument is that Karl should have been given the boot and Andersen retained, but it’s not really Masai’s call on whether or not Karl is coach. That decision lies with the Kroenkes and, up to this point, have seemed indifferent regarding Karl’s status as coach.
    In my opinion, Masai has done a great job of keeping the team competitive given the hand he’s been dealt. He’s acquired assets that can be used to trade for an All-Star down the line or, at the very least, continue their prodigious regular season success in the hopes that one of our players (most likely Lawson) becomes a true superstar. Masai has earned the right to be paid like a top-tier GM…

    • Mike K

      While true that the Kroenkes own the team, isn’t it up to the GM to determine the coach and players? Right the owner usually has some say, but in most cases they leave those decisions to the GM based on the roster and talent available to put it all together on the court night in and night out.

      If Masai doesn’t have the decision to determine Karl’s future now or after this season (although I believe Karl’s 1-year options are joint team-coach options), I can see him jumping ship to Toronto where he won’t have Tim Leiweke always peering over his shoulder as he likely does with Josh Kroenke.

      The only thing Josh should be doing is paying the man the money he deserves and getting out of the way.

      • Ryan

        I probably phrased that incorrectly. I’m sure Masai has some input regarding the coach, but I would assume that the final say rests with the Kroenkes, since they write the checks. As you say, ideally they would leave basketball decisions to people more qualified to make those decisions…

  • Owen

    Throw the kitchen sink at him. He is our most valuable asset as a franchise and even if the highest paid GM, would make less than half of what McGoo makes.