Wizards Targeting Raptors’ President?

The Wizards may be delaying their search for a new executive so they can make a run at Raptors president Masai Ujiri, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic.

No permanent head of basketball operations has been hired in Washington since former president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld was dismissed in early April. The Wizards offered the job to Nuggets president Tim Connelly last month, but he elected to stay in Denver. There has been little reported movement since then, leading to speculation that Ujiri is the next target.

Katz notes that owner Ted Leonsis and consultant Mike Forde, who is leading the search team, haven’t reached out to the Raptors to request permission to interview Ujiri, and that likely won’t happen until the NBA Finals have wrapped up. Ujiri is a candidate for Executive of the Year after pulling off bold trades for Kawhi Leonard and Marc Gasol that helped Toronto reach the championship round for the first time.

Katz doesn’t believe Washington can win a bidding war for Ujiri because the Raptors are owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which is one of the wealthiest companies in the sports industry and has a pattern of giving Ujiri whatever he has asked for, including a G League team and a new practice facility. The Wizards also can’t compete in terms of basketball success, as they missed the playoffs this season and seem a long way from reaching the Finals.

However, they may be able to appeal to Ujiri with the prospect of living in Washington, D.C., giving him a chance to increase his involvement with Giants of Africa or the NBA’s new pro league in Africa, along with being in the same city as his close friend, former President Barack Obama.

With Ujiri still under contract for the next two seasons, the Raptors could demand a heavy price in exchange for letting him leave. Sources tell Katz that they asked for two first-round picks when Ujiri talked to the Knicks a few years ago and they received a second-rounder from the Magic when former GM Jeff Weltman went to Orlando in 2017.

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11 thoughts on “Wizards Targeting Raptors’ President?

  1. Does anyone know what compensation did Denver receive from Toronto to get Denver’s consent to hire the guy in the first place?

    I don’t remember any, but there must have been something. The Knicks gave away a 2nd to the Kings to get Larry, and he was only an assistant GM for a losing team vs executive of the year. He might be worth it if he stayed 10 years, but otherwise asking for two 1st’s is the equivalent of saying no.

    • osonvs

      There was no compensation given. His contract with Denver was over and it was essentially a bidding war between Denver and Toronto.

  2. cjmask

    How does living in Washington instead of Toronto help him be more involved with Giants of Africa or the new NBA pro league in Africa?

  3. hoosierhysteria

    Crazy ted spending time on the wrong thing again. Raps not losing this guy. But….when KL leaves for home he might not be considered to be so smucking fart.

    • C-Daddy

      They got rid of DeRozan’s inflated contract and Kawhi’s led them to the Finals – it was an amazing trade even if he leaves.

    • and if Kawhi stays where he’s as respected and adored as much as he could be anywhere, but possibly more than anywhere… who will be smucking whose farts then?

  4. Nebraska Tim

    I don’t see Ujiri going to that gong-show of an organization.

    If they paid him a whole bunch more, maybe… but Ujiri’s very well compensated, and I don’t think Toronto loses a bidding war for his services.

    Washington might have a few more political ties, but the international flavor of Toronto still seems to make more sense.

    If anything, I’d think NY would have been the biggest draw.

      • Nebraska Tim

        I concur. He’s a huge minus to the appeal of going to the NYKs.

        I actually think that’s why they’ll have trouble getting any of the big FAs.

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