Denver Nuggets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri named 2012-2013 NBA Executive of the Year

On Friday we learned from Doug Smith that the Raptors have until Monday to decide whether or not to pick up Bryan Colangelo’s option for next season. Smith also reported that Tim Leiweke and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment have hired a search firm to narrow down a list of potential Colangelo successors. Two names mentioned in that report were Pacers General Manager Kevin Pritchard and Thunder Vice President and Assistant GM Troy Weaver.

Saturday morning, Adrian Wojnarowski hit us with something that most Raptors fans surely considered once or twice when news emerged that Colangelo’s days may be numbered, and that’s that Toronto is reportedly targeting Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri.

As most of you are probably aware, Ujiri spent three years working under Colangelo in Toronto before being hired by the Nuggets, where he went on to handle the Carmelo Anthony situation better than Colangelo handled the Chris Bosh situation, to oversee a 50+ win team, and eventually took home the NBA’s Executive Of the Year award for this season’s performance.

I’d argue that Ujiri winning the award had more to do with his first two years on the job than this year, but nonetheless, we’re talking about a young basketball executive who has enjoyed nothing but success in his first three years on the job.

Wojnarowski, citing league sources, writes that Ujiri is the top choice of executive recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International, who MLSE hired to conduct the search. The 42-year-old, who became the first African-born General Manager in North American professional sports when Denver hired him in 2010, will see his current contract with the Nuggets expire this summer.

According to Woj, Ujiri turned down the 76ers job last year and he’s “one of the NBA’s lower paid GMs,” but he also mentions that “Tim Leiweke has expressed a desire to make a serious financial and organizational commitment to an elite executive to turn around the franchise.”

While I can definitely understand why it would be tough for Ujiri to leave Denver when the Nuggets are much closer to contention than the Raptors are, you’d have to think that between his familiarity with Toronto and the Raptors, and the potential for a raise, MLSE would be one of the organizations that could at least make him consider a move.

On a final note from the Wojnarowski report, the Yahoo! Sports writer states that Colangelo “could stay with the franchise under a new top basketball official.” I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Colangelo wouldn’t stick around to take the ego hit of working under his former Assistant GM, but that’s just me.

Comments (37)

  1. Podcast on Tuesday discussing this news?

  2. “Tim Leiweke has expressed a desire to make a serious financial and organizational commitment to an elite executive to turn around the franchise.”
    Yet he is supposedly “out sourcing” this important decisions to a firm that has never hired in this industry before – this gong show of a franchise continues to be a f^cking joke, even under Lieweke. What kind of trust should I have to a guy, that needs this basic of basic business skills kind of help!??

    • Who said the decision isn’t going to be made by leiweke? Just because he hired a headhunting firm doesn’t mean he’s giving up the decision. What do you really know about business? Please find something else to complain about, because lieweke certainly isn’t an amateur.

      • Hahahaha – youngjames knows much more about hiring sports executives than this Leiweke guy. Why, just last week youngjames hired the neighbour’s kid to mow his lawn for the summer after an extensive recruiting process that involved making posters with scrap paper and a Sharpie and stapling them to hydro poles all the way up and down the block.

        Tip #1 youngjames – If you’re going to ridicule Leiweke for being incompetent, at least learn how to spell his name.

  3. This is very strange stuff, right?

    Its starting to remind me of the Leafs situation from last year.

  4. Not that I care, but what the hell – I have three diploma’s 1) Business -Marketing 2) Business Administration Operations and Management 3) Advanced diploma in Human Resources Management (graduated on the Dean’s list) 4) CHRP designation and now I am working on my Maters in Business…is that enough “business” for you losers. Now go – your turn…how many degree’s/diploma’s do you all have? How many Dean’s lists did you all appear on??? Thought so…NONE! go take your high school diploma and go bang or wrench something for $15 an hour loser. I work in Human Resources for a very huge financial Insurance company, I am surrounded delay with business and complex business decisions – I hire people who make double six figures per year I know and breath Hiring. IT IS A WEAK move to “outsource” your hiring needs to order fillers. As a CEO you want YOUR right hand people on the job it is for you to choose that person, not someone else to assume what you want – outsourcing is for weak jobs like sales, graphics, customer service, tools and wrenchi’n jobs, that sort of thing – NOT whne it comes to a position this huge. Besides what is (smart ass) that the hiring firm is going to tell him, that he doesn’t already know!?? Inform us! As far as me listening to you to go some where – stick behind your computer with no insightful comments like the little wimp you are….I’ll say what the fuck I want, when I want – if you don’t like it then STOP ME!
    @SR – your old and slow, it’s 7:00 pm and your probably asleep by now. If all you have is a pathetic “typing error” to mention, then it means I made my point, I’m right because you can’t find anything else to say. that is solid – so your fishin’! That example you give as a hiring process (as you mock) – is a great analogy of how Leiweke is running this procedure.

    • I’m sorry, but your comment was too priceless not to comment.

      You say, “not that I care”, but you do care. Way too much, from where I’m sitting. When you leave comments like you did, it makes you seem young and insecure. That’s fine because most of us were like that at one point. Eventually you will learn that no one who is worth impressing is going to be impressed by someone listing their diplomas (whether real or imagined) because anyone who’s actually been out in the world for a while knows that those things are fine for getting a job, but no one cares about them once you’re actually working in the business world. Some of the most successful people don’t even have degrees, let alone an “Advanced diploma in Human Resources Management”.

      By trying to list your accomplishments, all you’ve done is prove that you’re just a young and inexperienced person who’s trying to be more than he is.

      In actual fact, none of us know what generally goes on in the search for a GM, so pretending you do opens you up to criticism.

      And in the future, if you’re writing a comment that is meant to impress someone with your education, you might not want to make so many grammatical glaring errors. It doesn’t help backup your point.

  5. ” am surrounded delay with business”


    me make business…me talk business good…everyone is stupid except me.

  6. Masai FTW!


  7. Breaking news “Raptors target RC Buford” “Raptors target Pat Riley” “Raptors target dead Jim Bus”

    Targeting is one thing, having serious discourse is another. How could Masai ever leave his situation? Thats like moving back in with your parents after becoming a doctor and getting married to a hot babe.

    The fact that the raps are ‘outsourcing’ is ridiculous, i’ve never heard of such a thing in my life. Surprisingly, not every bone in my body says to fire colangelo (but most of them); how could bringing him back without a longterm extension be beneficial at all?

  8. @Boos and Tim W – OK guys your right I’m dumb – I didn’t check my work on a fucking chat site. I guess I am failure because what I do on here is who I am and what I am…once again, I DON’T FUCKING CARE TO DOUBLE CHECK MY WORK for you and the other high school drop outs – I am not here to impress anyone, I’m here to make points and add insight and because you have no answers to my insight, then I’m right and your wrong regardless of spelling errors…I leave my point, which is obvious you agree with because all you have is “he made spelling errors hahahaha” ….you losers….and you both make life mistakes hahahahahahahaha failures. What do you both do for work? I bet its a know nothing position, for a nobody company, making no decision at all beside when to take your lunch or whne you might need a coffee. You check and check and check your work on here before you paste and it must take you at least an hour to compose two paragraphs and check it all to look good to strangers, because you have no point to make, you have the time because you are losers sitting around with nothing to do…me, I can type 800 words per min and when it comes time to double check, I ignore it, waste of my time for you losers – so great you double check your work, WHERE IS YOUR POINT!!!!! You don’t have one because your dumb and useless and offer nothing
    Tell me @Boss and Tim W what are three benefits of hiring (outsourcing) recruitment for an executive position in an industry where the choices do not even reach the hundreds??? (and If you look on google I”ll know – I interview people all day and the “google” ones come out right away) …caution, I haven’t re-read or double checked my work so there is going to be errors – the question is can you add anything insightful!!!! I’m betting no!…and if you do, what took less then 5 minutes will take you the afternoon to response – because your losers with nothing to do!!!!

    • It might surprise you to learn that it doesn’t take very long to quickly check over a comment before you press “Post Comment”. A few seconds, at most. if it takes you longer than that, then that’s a bit of a problem.

      But that’s not the point. I generally ignore grammatical errors, but your original comment was so outrageously self promoting and meant to impress that I had to comment on the irony of it. That’s all.

      As for your three benefits? I don’t know. As I said, I don’t know anything about hiring a GM, and neither do you. Maybe objectivity? Thoroughness? Who knows. I’ve never hired the GM of an NBA team, so I have no idea how it’s normally done and what the best way to do it is. Maybe it’s not. Maybe more teams will do it in the future. Without knowing what the ultimate results are, it’s difficult to give an opinion one way or the other.

      And just a bit of unsolicited advice. Your comments touting your success and degrading everyone else oozes desperation. It makes you seem the opposite of everything you claim. You work in an HR department for a big company in what is probably your first real job. Try not to let it go to your head. Eventually you’ll learn not to judge a person by what they do for a living but by who they are. Or at least I hope you do.

    • youngjames – Is this a stand-up routine? Seriously, you’ve had your fun and I really want to know. I would pay 5, maybe 6 bucks to see your show. Good stuff all around.

      • I don’t know guys, a self-important douche who works in HR? His story checks out.

        • @BK – lets discuss further..where and when should we meet? Your cowardly comments forces us to have a face to face – any problems with that?

      • @SR,
        that whole (your comical bit) is played…I don’t expect an 80 year old like to know about it…but its been done. BY ME!!! That is my bit – so your copying me, should be flattering, but from an old useless, have no opinion loser like you…it’s not. I will make this simple for you. Please stop responding to me – is that clear?????

  9. ” I can type 800 words per min”

    “what took less then 5 minutes”


    I sure as hell hope it took less than 5 minutes, otherwise you need to head to Devry for some basic math classes. Now get me some more coffee bitch.

    FYI – your two dum too realized thet peephole kan sea write thru you’re maid upp “bigg bizness” tawk.

  10. hahahah the comments section suddenly turned into….

    But anyways this public display of non confidence in Colangelo is mildly entertaining. Hopefully it’s more substantial and less, Toronto sports media looking for headlines…

  11. I will refrain from piling on youngjames. Instead, I will answer his desperate plea for a substantive response to his heartfelt, vaguely panic-stricken original post.

    He asks how he can trust Mr Leiweke when he has “outsourced” such a crucial decision. Well, for starters, we don’t know whether TL has “outsourced” anything. All we have are vague media reports that MLSE has hired a headhunting firm to assist in the search.

    We don’t have any idea whether these reports are accurate (Doug Smith doesnt have a stellar record in this regard). Given his multiple diplomas, youngjames will no doubt be aware of the importance of critical thinking.

    Even if the reports are correct, I don’t believe they suggest that TL has “outsourced” the decision. Instead, the reports state that the headhunters are assisting with the search process (not conducting every aspect of it). youngjames should recognize another University skill used to glean this information: reading comprehension.

    Why would TL hire a headhunter to assist him? Tim W has offered some thoughts. Perhaps TL values a diverse range of opinions and does not want to rely exclusively on the present employees of MLSE (who have all been hired by or worked with the present, spectacularly unsuccessful GM)? In so doing, TL is employing another University skill familiar to the learned youngjames: creativity and open-mindedness.

    In light of the above and the fact that Mr Leiweke has been a very successful executive at a sports and entertainment icon for many years, perhaps young youngjames should endeavor to relax and not pass judgment until the big decision is made.

    Finally, I must advise Sir youngjames to contact the keepers of the Guiness Book, as the present holder of the record for speed typing is 216 wpm (set in 1946). He must be an even more remarkable individual than he has led us to believe.


    • @CC – Cathal Kelly is that you??? over using the dictionary on big words to ramble on through lengthy sentences and everyone misses your point – is that really you!???
      However I do appreciate your response, your the only one who answered the discussion questions:
      I am trying to understand your response, its confusing. You mention “critical thinking” than you never make a point supporting it. Then you split hairs on “assisting” and “out-sourcing”…TL has “hired a search firm”, that is outsourcing additional help to assist on the process of qualified candidates….again I don’t get your point and arguing one over the other. You did mention reading comprehension skills (which is a basic – non top five skill needed to recruit and interview), but perhaps its you that needs to apply that skill and understand that assisting is receiving help – outsourcing is another word for receiving help! being able too read and define the two is important whne using it to support your argument.
      Not sure that “open minded” is a skill, but I could be wrong, I’ve just never heard of it. To me it is a behavior, but I digress. Creativity is a skill, and I will agree with you that it is needed in the recruitment process – however hiring a search firm is not being creative. There are about what maybe 100-200 possible qualified candidates that TL would entertain (at the most), the search is very small for a pro athlete GM (i don’t need to have hired one to know this simple information). What is it that you think the “search firm” is going to tell TL about Pritchard or Masai or anyone else in the basketball community that TL doesn’t already know? Do you think this search firm has a set of unattainable magical situational and behavioral interview questions that TL does not have exposure too? Your suggesting that the search firm is going to inform TL on something different? – TL has never hired a search firm before in his many successful en devours so why would he need a “different point of view” all of a sudden with the Presidents role at MLSE? He has probably hired hundreds of people, he knows what he is doing? Unless he is not confident in his ability or he is extremely just too busy or that the position is not of great value – then yes, hire the search firm….but creativity is not defined by opening up the yellow pages and hiring from a over inflated industry, a search firm – they are order filers, they add nothing – trust me!
      You even support this thought b yyou saying this “In light of the above and the fact that Mr Leiweke has been a very successful executive at a sports and entertainment icon for many years”… exactly – so why a search firm? It certainly is not for creative practices, it certainly isn’t because he is utilizing reading comprehension skills – critical thinking can apply, but as it is such a broad view of a skill, it can apply almost anywhere at any job on any task (beside you still did not make a point describing that skill).
      TL has stated that this is an important decision, he is looking for his right hand man to clean up this mess…so tell me, if your looking for your right hand man, why do rely on someone else ( a firm that isn’t known for hiring GM’s in the sports industry at that) to make that ever so important decision for you? If it is about just finding the people who are qualified, once again it is an extremely small pool, anyone can do that for him in an afternoon’s worth of work….here you go Sir, here are the qualified candidates names and portfolio, HR 101….I believe this is a smoke and mirrors move – as to why? I don’t know, but I would like too.
      And as far as the Guinness world record, please tell me you are not that dumb, naive and or childish? Obviously I made a typo – could you not use your critical thinking skills and asses that? Could you not use your reading comprehension skills and note that I wrote in that same message you commented on that there were mistakes because I didn’t check my work??
      Now if you excuse me, I have spent way too much time on here today and I will be now taking my daughter to the park!

  12. Doug Smith should be flipping burgers in the snack bar!

  13. Doug Smith hacks FB and twitter accounts – becareful with him!

  14. @Boss – thanks for the message, you just proved you can’t read and keep proving that I am right – your DUMB!….800 words is a typo (obviously), which I admitted I was going to make on my last message…Why? because I REFUSE to proof read for small piss-ant old man like you!…AND, you still CAN’T come up with a point. hahahahhahaha – you make yourself look so dumb!!!! OK, I don’t have great proof reading skills, you have no thought!!!!! You lose old man

  15. @Tim W
    I dont care how long it takes to double check I WON”T DO IT on here – get it!!!
    If you don’t like it – why do you read it?…if you can’t understand it – why do you respond? seem to understand what I am saying in your responses. If I don’t make sense, why don’t you have another answer for us, instead “hey look he doesn’t check his work” (ever responses, no retort, just kindergarten na-nan-nan-nan-nan-na shit)?… why? because your a loser! I see you all over Dog Smith’s pathetic blog kissing his ass almost everyday. My “I hate Doug Smith” campaigns on every other blog Raptors, drives him and his three loser supporters to challenge me on all those sites…I love that you all obsess over me! I have been so important to your long weekend and I most ask – why? I assume because your old and lonely with nothing to do and no one to be with!
    But to answer your question:
    From commenter Mike in these posts – “What do you really know about business?” Unlike you, I was able to answer his question – that is why I left the message of my success’ – I am not ashamed of them, I have never brought it up, until challenged…and you seem jealous of me! My advice to you losers, BE SMART and read the whole story – don’t take your bits out and assume the rest because your looking bad – real bad!
    last thing – your old, fat and slow, I don’t care if you believe what I say – YOU, however seem to care so much from all your responses to me over the last 72 hrs (immediately after I leave them too – its like your watching this site waiting for me). Instead of wasting time on here (like the coward you are), I will meet you in T.O somewhere and show you face to face my diploma’s and designation, just so you can see my face and who the guy is that you think your “getting over” on while you hide your pathetic ass behind the key board. OR send me a private email address, I will you send you my name and you can go to my LinkedIn account and look for yourself – I rather meet, I love to intimidate wimps like you!…you see with me, you get the tough, knock your f^cking teeth in boy that grew up in Scarborough – then (in different circumstances) I am a well educated successful business man with a gorgeous wife, a beautiful new born baby angle girl and 10X the business mind you will ever have, that is what makes me the ALPHA dog, better then you. I have it all – you are a loser week wimp who needs this form to even be able to give an opinion! and all you did this weekend is follow me! so lets me and you meet, you seem to like me so much – what do say old timer?

    • “you are a loser week wimp”

      Luckily it is only for a week. Do you mind if we put off our meeting for 7 days? Sounds like I will be good to go then.

      Also, please post a link to your wife’s Facebook. I love hot women! But unfortunately my lack of education prevents me from ever getting to kiss a girl. (when lord, when…when’s gonna be my time?)

      • @Boss – haahahahaha, you got me on NOT double checking my work hahahahahahaha, even though I mention I don’t and I won’t – YOU retardly mention again – your mind cannot read that information…seriously are you slow? Because if you are I would feel bad even trying to have a over 10 year conversation with you….are you slow? – your stuck like a broken record, not able to saying anything but “I am so jealous of youngjames) responses….Of coarse you want my wife’s facebook – your a small dick, live at mommy’s house have to whack off to the computer because your creepy kinda guy. Look at you on here YOUR CREEPY. Tell you what seriously leave me you email address, my wife has lots of hot friends. I will show them your picture and these creepy messages…then we will post the girl responses on here….deal??? OH AND I WON”T DOUBLE CHECK ERRORS SO CAUTION: I say that because if you response with “hahahahaha he made a spelling error” it will prove you are retarded and that you can’t read! Please lets do this – send an email and some pics! Who else would like to see this from our boy Boss?

        • “trying to have a over 10 year conversation with you”

          Wow…that would be an epically long conversation. By the end of it, by your math, your imaginary daughter would be around eleventy-two years old! (Unless you can speak at over 800 words per minute, “of coarse”.)

          Are you sure you have that kind of time? You know what they say, “the first 5 years are the most important years in the development of your imaginary child’s life.”

          And nevermind the neglectfulness towards your made-up wife! Ignoring her for 10 years would not bode well for your fake marriage. I grant that with all that you have going for you, she would stick it out in your head for at least a couple of years, but then what? It would only be a matter of time before she starts relationships with other figments of your imagination, such as friends, or parents who didn’t drop you on your head when you were young(er).

    • @youngjames,

      A couple of things.

      I haven’t read Doug Smith’s blog in years, so I’m not sure what you’re even talking about.

      Why are you so obsessed with telling everyone how “successful” you are? Adults who are secure with themselves don’t do that. And they don’t feel the need to try and prove it to people they don’t even know online.

      I don’t care in the least about your “diplomas and designations”, mostly because I’m not an insecure 21 year old who feels the need to impress people.

      And believe it or not, I’m quite happy about that.

  16. @ youngjames

    1. Posting about your education.

    2. Where/what you do for work.

    3. Over reacting to people pointing out your spelling errors.

    4. Making threats to people online.

    5. Continuing to make stupid comments.

    And you’re saying that you DON’T care what people on the internet think of you? Riiiiight. If that were the case, you wouldn’t have continued to make such ignorant comments in here.

    Also, why are you trying to act like you’re the only one with any post-secondary education? I’m sure that there are many commenters on this site who either have similar credentials already, or are working towards them but don’t feel the need to boast about them on an online basketball blog. But if doing that makes you feel any better, then congratulations.

  17. @BP

    No threats – A MAN, will agree that if it is so important that the person needs to follow me on here then they must have something important to say – so important matters must be dealt with face to face…it’s business etiquette 101 its ALPHA DOG 101. A pussy and non business person (like you) won’t agree – your lack of confidence and self worth won’t let you! MEN and successful business men speak and discuss face to face, cowards hide behind computers and throw out “hahahahahaha – you can’t spell – what makes you have a business opinion?” jealous, thinned skinned, not confident of themselves replies – like you! So if your a scarred wimp, then yes YOU see it as a threat, that’s your confidence letting you down – but if your a man and strong business men, then you don’t see it as a threat….get it wimp!

    “Also, why are you trying to act like you’re the only one with any post-secondary education?”
    I’m not, I answered Mikes question – just like you would if asked and or challenged! I didn’t volunteer the information, I supplied it, to answer a question. TRY READING, you fool – instead of reply like a teenage little girl, why don’t you anwser the FUCKING questions and show us your abilities

  18. This is hilarious. Keep poking the bear, I want to see how many more awesome facts if life ALPHA DOG can share with us.

  19. You guys just made my Tuesday, this is awesome. Thanks to this section, I’ve learned:

    1) 800 wpm IS possible
    2) Lying on the internet to make yourself feel important NEVER happens
    3) No matter how sarcastic your comment is, youngjames probably won’t comprehend it. But I guess comprehension isn’t very high up on his list of many business skills anyway…weird.

  20. @ youngjames

    You are a hilariously pathetic insecure child.

    Kudos for being the laughingstock of this message board.

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