Nuggets team president Josh Kroenke's strong relationship with Masai Ujiri was the primary force behind the outgoing Denver GM's hesitation to accept Toronto's five-year, $15MM offer to jump to the Raptors front office, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The Nuggets were willing to give Ujiri a deal worth $1.2MM a year, according to USA Today's Sam Amick. Still, none of it was enough to convince Ujiri to stay, and now the Nuggets are the team looking for a new GM. There's early talk about several who could eventually get the job, as we detail below:
- Nuggets assistant GM Pete D'Alessandro and director of player personnel Mike Bratz are viable options, sources tell Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
- Wojnarowski speculates that the Nuggets could promote D'Alessandro or go after Cavaliers assistant GM David Griffin. The Nuggets offered Griffin the job in 2010, but he turned them down, leading Denver to turn to Ujiri.
- Other executives who figure to be top candidates include Gersson Rosas of the Rockets, Bobby Marks of the Nets, Tim Connelly of the Pelicans, Wes Wilcox of the Hawks and Scott Perry of the Magic, according to Wojnarowski.
- The Nuggets could have some competition if they want to go with D'Alessandro, since Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace, the leading candidate to take the GM job in Sacramento, would like to hire him to work in the Kings front office, Amick reports (Twitter link).
- Warriors assistant GM Travis Schlenk interviewed well with the Kings, Amick tweets, arguing that Schlenk could be a fit in Denver if it doesn't work out for him in Sacramento.
- Assistant GMs Tommy Sheppard of the Wizards and Jeff Weltman of the Bucks have ties to the Nuggets and bear watching as the Nuggets' search takes place, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.