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.”
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.
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.
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…)
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.
Masai Ujiri has agreed to a 5 year deal for $15 million with Toronto, league sources say.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 31, 2013
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.
Just received a text from Ujiri. Confirmed. He’s a Raptor.
— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) May 31, 2013
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.
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…)
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.
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.”
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.
For the third year in a row Roundball Mining Company has arranged an off-season priority list for the Denver Nuggets. The following items are arranged from least to most important. They are moves which the Nuggets would greatly benefit from, yet none are mandatory. After winning 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year, it’s safe to assume Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri will do everything in his power to improve the Nuggets once again — that is, as long as he’s still around.
As Joel announced a few minutes ago Nuggets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri has won this season’s NBA Executive of the Year award, becoming the third Nuggets executive to win the award after Vince Boryla in 1984-85 and Mark Warkentien in 2008-09.
UPDATE: Just minutes after posting this, it was announced on the official Denver Nuggets Twitter feed (@DenverNuggets) that Ujiri has officially won the Executive of the Year award. More details at Nuggets.com here.
Benjamin Hochman (@nuggetsnews) of DenverPost.com has reported that just on the heels of George Karl winning Coach of the Year, Masai Ujiri will also receive a prestigious NBA honor by being named 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year: (more…)
At various times throughout the 2012-13 regular season, usually during garbage time in blowout games, rookie guard Evan Fournier offered us some occasional glimpses of his abilities and potential. But it wasn’t until Mar. 29, after Ty Lawson had joined Danilo Gallinari on the injured list, that Fournier was given his first meaningful opportunity to make an impact.
And did he ever..
His career high 19 points in 21 minutes, his feisty defense, and a confident poise that went well beyond his young age were a revelation to Nuggets fans who hadn’t yet been given the chance to see him fully showcase his talent. In the following game against the Utah Jazz he scored 18, and two games later against the Houston Rockets 17 points, all at very efficient percentages. The message over this four game stretch was loud and clear:
Evan Fournier is the real deal, and he’s only going to get better.
In this latest installment of the Roundball Mining Company Film Room, I have set out to make nothing less than the definitive video chronicle of Fournier’s coming out party (more…)
Last week Chris Sheridan broke the news that Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri had recently made a trip overseas to scout one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft. His name is Giannis Adetokunbo. He’s 6-9. He’s freakishly athletic. And he regularly plays point guard for his team in Greece. Did I mention he’s a 6-9 freak who regularly plays point guard?
After news broke that Danilo Gallinari would be sidelined for the remained of the year (and well into the 2013-14 season) with a torn ACL, questions arose in the minds of Nuggets fans across the globe. There has been talk about who will step up in his place, whether the Nuggets are severely weakened and even speculation about how this will affect the team’s roster moves this off-season. In RMC’s latest 5-on-5 our writers aim to address these topics in hopes of shedding some light (and perhaps even a little optimism) on how the Nuggets will fare moving forward without their starting small forward. As always, please feel free to post your answers to the following five questions in the comments section below.