UPDATE: Earlier on Friday, Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the Nuggets had granted Tim Leiweke and MLSE permission to meet with Masai Ujiri about Toronto’s vacant General Manager position (you can find my reaction to that initial report in the original post below the asterisks). Late Friday night, Woj reported that “Ujiri will take the next couple days to fully consider the move,” but that the Raptors’ multi-year contract offer will likely lead to the reigning Executive of the Year’s departure from Denver.
Digging even deeper, Wojnarowski writes that the Kroenke family “doesn’t appear moved to make a competitive bid to hold onto him” and that citing a league source familiar with the talks, “Denver ownership ‘seems to be moving on.’”
As I had mentioned earlier on Friday, once the Nuggets granted the Raps permission to negotiate with Ujiri, the only real hurdle between MLSE and their coveted target was cleared. Based on these latest updates via Yahoo! Sports, I’d be surprised if there isn’t a reported deal in place by the time we wake up Monday morning, if not sooner.
I suppose nothing is really done until it’s done (as Raptors fans have learned in the past), but still, you’d have to assume that part of the reason the Kroenkes even allowed the Raptors to speak with Ujiri and part of the reason they don’t sound too eager to get into a bidding war for his services, is that he probably let them know he was interested in the Toronto job. I’m aware that Stan Kroenke has a reputation for undervaluing his front office staff, but in this case, would you want to start throwing massive sums of money around for a guy who may have admitted he now wants to be elsewhere?
On a final note, an interesting couple of quotes on the situation from Josh Kroenke in The Denver Post: First, while everyone knows by now that Ujiri’s contract expires on June 30, Kroenke told The Post that the Raptors position opened up as he and Ujiri were finalizing the details on a multi-million dollar, multi-year deal that had been agreed to in principle.
Here are two quotes from Kroenke in that aforementioned Denver Post story…
“In my mind, we had an agreement but it doesn’t matter because I would never hold someone back from an opportunity they might be curious about. Especially someone I hold in such high regard as Masai.”
“If it was any other team, I wouldn’t even have thought about granting permission to speak to him.”
(Again, you can read my thoughts on the original Friday afternoon report and some thoughts on the GM search in general below)
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