Are the Washington Wizards going after Masai Ujiri for GM?

Washington Wizards Masai Ujiri (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Masai Ujiri (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Less than 24 hours after the Toronto Raptors won the NBA Finals, reports have come out that the Washington Wizards may be trying to steal their top executive.

It has been two and a half months since the Washington Wizards fired longtime general manager Ernie Grunfeld. After missing out on Denver’s Tim Connelly, the Wizards have reportedly put their efforts into signing the Toronto Raptor‘s President of Basketball Operations, Masai Ujiri.

Ujiri is one of the most coveted executives in the NBA. When he was with the Denver Nuggets, he was praised for building a top team in the western conference right after they traded Carmelo Anthony. For his success in Denver, Ujiri was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2013. Now with the Raptors, Ujiri has also received all the credit for the Raptor’s championship as he orchestrated the trade for NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard.

With the Raptor’s season officially over after they won the championship on Thursday, Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis is expected to reach out to Ujiri and offer him the job as the team’s next general manager according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski reported that with the job, the Wizards are offering Ujiri $10 million per year over six years which would make him one of the league’s highest-paid front office executives. This would also give him a raise of three to four million dollars per year. The Wizards are also preparing to offer Ujiri a leadership role in Monumental Sports and Entertainment, offering even more incentive to leave the reigning NBA champs.

However, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweeted that the Wizards have “no imminent plans to reach out to” Ujiri, meaning that there is no massive offer being prepared.

This news comes after Ujiri was involved in an incident at the end of game six of the NBA Finals when the Raptors won the championship. Ujiri was trying to make his way onto the floor to celebrate with the team when he was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy for not having the right credentials. Ujiri then allegedly pushed and struck the deputy.

Ujiri was not arrested. However, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office is pursuing a misdemeanor battery charge against him.

It is unknown if the Wizards lost interest in Ujiri after this incident or if their interest in him was simply overstated.

However, if the Wizards do intend to offer Ujiri the job,  it is unknown if he would take it. On May 29, Ujiri preached his love for Toronto to Rogers Sportsnet’s Michael Grange and did not sound like he was ready to leave. “It’s incredible how diverse [Toronto] is and we’re going to continue to grow this and live this in this city. You see the fans and wherever you go, whether it’s a restaurant, everywhere, the support has been amazing for us,” Ujiri said.

Larry Tanenbaum, the owner of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, was asked about the Wizard’s interest in Ujiri. He stated, “I Know Masai. He’s like my son. There’s no chance he’s leaving Toronto.”

The Washington Wizards are a Mess. dark. Next

If Ujiri rejects the Wizard’s offer or if the Wizards do not offer him the job, other candidates for the Wizards’ president of basketball operations are acting general manager Tommy Sheppard, Troy Weaver, the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s Vice President of Basketball Operations, and Danny Ferry, former general manager of the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers.