Link: A Closer Look at Ujiri’s Time in Denver

A few days ago in my reaction piece to Ujiri’s departure I mentioned talking with Sam Holako about how Raptors fans were unlucky to see Ujiri flee from Toronto to Denver. Now that the tables have turned, Holako recently caught up with me to discuss what Toronto is getting in their new general manager. You can view our conversation at RMC’s fellow TrueHoop blog, Raptors Republic. But if you’re short on time and want the truncated version, it basically went like this: Ujiri is a great GM, especially in regards to the draft, and Raptors fans are incredibly lucky to have him. Or, as Holako puts it in his article, “TL;DR: Masai Ujiri comes as advertized.”

Roundball Roundtable: On Ujiri’s departure

Masai Ujiri leaving the Denver Nuggets has the potential to be one of the most devastating franchise decisions the Kroenke family has ever made. Conversely, the Nuggets might hire the next Masai Ujiri and be just fine. Either way, the decision to let him speak with the Raptors and ultimately sign with his former Canadian squad said something about the Nuggets as a franchise. It said something about the Kroenkes and it said something about the order of the Nuggets’ priorities. Our writers have a few ideas about what that something is, which we’ve laid out below in our latest Roundball Roundtable.

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Rumor: Karl’s status with Nuggets now “unsettled”

According to ESPNLA.com’s Ramona Shelburne, current Nuggets head coach and reigning NBA Coach of the Year, George Karl, might be on the hot seat. Per Shelburne:

Denver Nuggets coach George Karl’s status has become “unsettled” following the departure of general manager Masai Ujiri for the Toronto Raptors, two sources close to the situation said late Saturday night.

Karl, who was named the NBA’s coach of the year following the Nuggets’ 57-win season, is not in any imminent danger of losing his job, the sources stressed. But Ujiri’s departure, coupled with Denver’s disappointing first-round playoff exit, has shaken things up in Denver to the point that Karl, who is under contract for just one more season, could, incredibly, begin the season on the hot seat after winning the league’s top coaching honor for the first time in his long career, instead of beginning extension talks.

This is somewhat surprising news. Throughout nearly a decade the Nuggets roster has been totally transformed. The front office has repeatedly switched personnel. Yet with each new season George Karl has remained head coach. When Masai Ujiri first came on as general manager of the Nuggets, rumors swirled that he was unhappy with Karl, yet a few months later he inked him to a potential six-year extension. Now, after only several days since Ujiri departed the Nuggets, rumors are again swirling that Karl’s position with the franchise is less than 100 percent secure. Of course, the fact the Clippers recently inquired about Karl certainly helps expedite this speculation; nevertheless, one can’t help but wonder which high-ranking Nuggets officials are more fans of Karl than others.

Reaction: Kroenkes more talk than walk

A few years back I exchanged e-mails with a Raptors Republic blogger (I think it was Sam Holako) about Masai Ujiri. Although he was still just beginning his career in Denver, it was clear Ujiri had the innate ability to evaluate talent that Bryan Colangelo lacked. I said I felt bad for Raptors fans, that they deserved better given their struggles since, well forever, but I also didn’t feel bad for them. After all, Ujiri was in Denver. It wasn’t my favorite team he’d be terrorizing. (more…)

BREAKING: Masai Ujiri leaving Nuggets for Toronto Raptors

The news Nuggets fans have been dreading for a week straight became a reality Friday afternoon. The Toronto Raptors ongoing pursuit of former Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri is complete with Masai agreeing to a five year deal to become the Raptors’ next general manager.


Woj’s tweet was corroborated a few minutes later by CBS4′s Vic Lombardi, who confirms Ujiri himself has announced he’s out as the Nuggets’GM.


It’s a tough reality for the Nuggets, who now have to start looking forward to an uncertain summer after one of the most successful seasons in franchise history. Obviously we will have a lot more coverage of what this means going forward, but Masai ended up signing the rich deal we all feared a savvy NBA team might offer in order to pry away the executive of the year.

Toronto did what it took to get him and for a hard worker with as humble beginnings as Ujiri, it is major success story. Congratulations to Masai.

UPDATE: The Nuggets have released a statement regarding Masai Ujiri. Team president Josh Kroenke announced a search for a new executive and the departing Masai Ujiri offers a few quotes as well. Read the full text on the Nuggets official website here.

Los Angeles Clippers Eyeing George Karl?

In the midst of the agonizing Masai Ujiri drama Nuggets fans are forced to endure, reports have surfaced that the Los Angeles Clippers have taken notice of none other than Denver head coach George Karl. After getting rid of Vinny Del Negro, the Clippers are looking for a new head coach, and while Karl is not at the top of the team’s wish list, they are allegedly considering asking the Nuggets for permission to talk with Karl.

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Yes, we have a new commenting system; and no, it doesn’t bite

As many of you are probably already aware, Roundball Mining Company has a new commenting system. It’s called Disqus. It’s shiny and new and awesome and really easy to use. But some of you are clearly intimated. Please don’t be. All it takes is about a minute to create an account and you’re up and running. Nobody here is asking you to create an extensive profile that rivals Facebook. We really don’t want to know anything about you, other than your thoughts on the Nuggets. If you want, you can continue to comment as a guest. We understand that many of you appreciated the old commenting system for it’s anonymity; however, we also believe in community, differing opinions and reputation. Disqus makes it much easier to recognize those who consistently bring valuable input to the table, while simultaneously preventing spam and trolls from polluting our comments section with unwanted crud. It’s a win-win situation, really. So please, if you haven’t already, register and continue providing us with the unrivaled, knowledgeable, intelligent commentary you’ve given us over the last few years. Without it, we really have no idea what or how we’re doing. Thanks.

– Kalen

Player Profile: Ty Lawson

The Summary of a Season:

It is extremely apropos that Ty Lawson would be the Nugget whose dichotomic year would be the best reflection of what truly was a polarizing season for Denver. It was a season that, like Denver’s, began horribly and made even the most steadfast supporter question the validity of his freshly inked extension, or in the team’s case, the perception of the squad as a dark-horse contender. Then things took a turn for the efficient, Lawson found his shot again, and the Nuggets were off to the races. 57 wins later and imbued with recency bias the Lawson-led Nuggets marched confidently into the playoffs, where they were tragically felled by the fiery hands of the Warriors and their parade of shooters (that inexplicably, and almost unfairly, included Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green). The ending to the season left a taint on the season, like a stain you can’t un-see on an otherwise glorious and pristine masterpiece. You can’t have one without the other. Lawson’s end of season numbers reflect this, the stain of his first half cannot be parsed from his incredible second because the imperfection is what makes him who he is as a player and is an inseparable part of his, and the Nuggets’, season.

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This Weekend: 24 Hour Pick-Up Game in Denver for the Hoop Dream

Do you play basketball? Live in Denver? Want to contribute to a good cause dedicated to bringing basketball to those less-fortunate?

Our friend Brian Smith is organizing a 24-hour hoops marathon for the Hoop Dream, an organization dedicated to teaching basketball and building courts in Africa.  The event will run for 24 hours starting this Friday, May 31st at 5pm through Saturday June 1st.

Check out the details below. You can use the map we’ve embedded to find directions.

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Five things we learned about the 2012-2013 Denver Nuggets offense

As the 2012-2013 NBA calendar winds down we take a look at the season that was for the Denver Nuggets, starting with an overview of the offense. 

The Nuggets finished with the fifth-best offense of the 2012-2013 season in terms of offensive efficiency. It was a record setting year with Denver securing a franchise-best 57 wins and the most points in the paint scored in a season in NBA history. Denver has now had a top five offense for five years in a row, but their fall to fifth represents a decline from last year’s third-ranked team and the league-leading Nuggets offense of two seasons ago.

If we dig a bit deeper we see the effects of horrendous shooting from the perimeter and the free-throw line reflected in the Nuggets True Shooting percentage, which fell all the way to 54.9% this season. While that is a solid figure good for 7th in the NBA, it’s also the Nuggets worst mark since the 2006-2007 season and rather pedestrian compared to what they did with similar talent in years past.

The Nuggets were still the Nuggets this season, but the offense clearly took a step back despite everyone’s best efforts to reorganize as a sturdier defensive unit under Iguodala (and the defense did improve). Denver scored enough points to win most games but it was on the offensive end where the Nuggets saw most of their flaws exposed, both with the roster and the style of play.

It’s pretty remarkable that a team with no shooters and inexperienced, unskilled big men still managed a top five offense and 57 wins. Looking at the numbers it’s clear the Nuggets had a plan to maximize what they do best and executing that consistently covered up many individual flaws. I took a look at what else can be gleamed from the Nuggets offensive numbers this past season and here are five revelations, if you will, as we wait to see how the Nuggets try to improve in the draft, free agency and beyond.
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More Ujiri rumors: Does a glimmer of hope remain?

There was a sudden whirlwind of rumors and reports last Friday during the time leading up to and just after Masai Ujiri met with the Raptors to discuss the possibility of leaving the Nuggets to take the helm at Toronto’s front office. But hings quickly went silent thereafter, and few whispers have been heard on the matter since the tumultuous events of last weekend.

However, Steve Kyler, editor and publisher of Hoopsworld and an NBA writer for USA Today, was recently answering some questions on Twitter (follow him here), and if his sources are accurate, his responses could possibly shed some new light on some of the details, and perhaps even provide Nuggets fans with a ray of hope (albeit dim) in the gloom of the ongoing Ujiri saga. (more…)

Link: Ujiri likely to leave Nuggets, says Wojnarowski

What started off as a bad dream has now morphed into a nightmare. According to Yahoo!Sports.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, “significant momentum has gathered that likely will lead to Ujiri’s departure from the franchise that he completely remade into a Western Conference contender.” Though nothing is final, it appears that unless a drastic turn of events occurs, the current NBA Executive of the Year and Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri will be taking his talents north of the border to Toronto. If you had one set of fingers already crossed, now’s the time to double up.

Is Ujiri on the brink of leaving Denver?

Earlier today Yahoo!Sports.com’s Adrien Wojnarowski reported the Nuggets ownership granted the Raptors permission to speak with Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri in Denver. In his article Woj states that, “Unless Denver responds soon with a market-value contract extension to keep its general manager, Ujiri is prepared to leave Denver,” and how, “Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke is aggressively pursuing Ujiri to become the Raptors’ general manager.”

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Sharing the Wealth: A Breakdown of Nuggets Assists

One of the biggest talking points around the Nuggets this season was how deep they were.

That resulted in a lot of different players scoring points for Denver and naturally with that plenty of assists, as the Nuggets finished third in the league at 24.4 assists per game, just .1 worse than second place Atlanta and less than a full assist behind top ranked San Antonio.

Most of those assists came from three players; Ty Lawson, Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala averaged 6.9, 5.9 and 5.4 assists per game respectively.

I decided to delve a little deeper into those assist numbers using the awesome assist charts at the great new site hotshotcharts.com.

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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.

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