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

One of the ongoing stories that fans and media alike debated as the Raptors awaited official word on Masai Ujiri was whether or not he was giving the Nuggets time to match Toronto’s lucrative offer and whether he was just using the Raptors for leverage, with little interest in actually coming here. Well Ujiri’s heartfelt message of coming “home” at his introductory press conference in Toronto all but silenced those concerns, and then Friday there was this quote from Nuggets President Josh Kroenke at his own presser when asked why the Nuggets didn’t match MLSE’s offer to Ujiri…

“Well, Masai told me not to. He said, ‘Josh I’m not going to tell you to match. I think I have already made my decision.’ His press conference was very revealing because it showed his love for the city of Toronto. In his opening statement he said ‘I am home’ several times and that is a great thing for Masai to feel. I don’t think it was his intention to move on from Denver this quickly but Toronto was always a special place for him, as well as Denver is. We all know his career started here where he was a scout and then he moved to Toronto then came back to Denver and now he is going back to Toronto. I think it was a natural evolution, but as far as matching the offer, Masai told me not to. I said, ‘Well, if that’s your decision then we aren’t even going to have the conversation.’ “

Courtesy of

Kroenke doesn’t believe Ujiri would have stayed in Denver if the Nuggets had matched the offer. In addition, Kroenke again mentioned that he and Ujiri had an agreement (pre-Toronto offer) about going forward at a number (dollar figure) that Masai had asked for, but that the Raptors were the only team he would allow to speak with Ujiri based on their prior relationship.

The Nuggets President also said that “It wasn’t a black-and-white situation, which I think a lot of people try to make it around the contract and the money. I don’t think it was a situation regarding money at all.”

You see, Denver? It had nothing to do with the Kroenkes’ reluctance to spend big money (even though their history suggests they wouldn’t have matched such a lucrative offer anyway). So don’t be mad, Ty. You can take the Raptors hat off now.

(You can view the full transcript of Kroenke’s press conference, including his assertion that he (not Ujiri) always made the decisions in Denver, at

Comments (9)

  1. So, basically, the Raptors outbid themselves on Uriji, since he had intended on going to Toronto all along?

  2. @BP – Masai is not the highest paid GM, they gave him what they felt he deserved, what a EOY would get in this market. Maybe it’s on the high end side, but if you want your man you’ll pay. Good organizations know what the market is, they are not going to over bid themselves. How you got that – who knows…actually now that I think about it – who cares!

  3. As a great man once said, “Who cares? MLSE has truckloads of cash.”.

    I don’t care what they’re paying him or if he wanted to be here, just make the team better.

  4. I think kroenke used the “masai told me not to match” just as a coverup to not make the ownership look cheap. Only they know the truth and its in their best interest to use a reason like this.

    • Good theory, this is the same organization that fired a guy because he dared to ask for an extension after winning coach of the year.

      • he also asked to go talk to the clippers wich did t help his case . why extend him when his intrest was elsewhere

  5. Digging the Sunday updates. Lotta buzz around the team and it’s cool to get all the latest right here. Keep up the good work, JC! Can’t be easy…

  6. This sound more of a cover-up for Denver not wanting to pony up the cash. Denver has a reputation for not paying market for their staff. Look no further than letting the reigning coach of the year walk because he wanted an extension.

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