Toronto has until Monday to decide the fate of Bryan Colangelo as GM and the guy steering the Raptors ship — do they pick up his option for next season or release him?
It looks more and more like the new management of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment — which owns the Raptors — wants to go another direction. Which is what they should do. There have been Phil Jackson rumors, but those were always a long shot.
So now they reportedly are turning their eyes to Masai Ujiri, the Nuggets GM, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Masai, the 2013 NBA Executive of the Year, has emerged as the top choice of the search firm – Korn/Ferry International – that’s been charged with finding a successor to Raptors president Bryan Colangelo, league sources said….
Ujiri’s contract as Denver’s general manager expires this summer and he has been in talks with ownership on an extension. Ujiri, 42, has a strong bond with Nuggets CEO Josh Kroenke but new MLSE top executive, Tim Leiweke, has expressed a desire to make a serious financial and organizational commitment to an elite executive to turn around the franchise.
If you are asking why he would jump, the answer is money — right now he is one of the lowest paid GMs in the league. Last year Neil Olshey jumped from the Clippers to the Trial Blazers for pretty much the same reason. You’d jump to a different job for a lot more money, too. Welcome to capitalism.
But the Nets came after Ujiri a year ago and he turned them down. He could do that again here to stay where he is comfortable, and maybe the Nuggets will up their offer to him. But it shows that people are targeting Ujiri and that the Raptors are willing to spend big to reshape their front office and eventually roster.
The Spurs beat the Mavericks by 26 points on Friday night, a game all of the Dallas players would love to forget. But there was a funny moment for rookie big man Salah Mejri: after a dunk, he appeared to yell something at the San Antonio bench. Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan were completely nonplussed.
For what it’s worth, Mejri later tweeted that he wasn’t intending to be disrespectful.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.
The Kings are a complete mess right now. After a loss to the Nets on Friday night, the team is reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl, who has been with the team for just about one year, and DeMarcus Cousins says they have “a bigger issue than the players.”
But, on the bright side, Cousins is still a monster on the court. During the Nets loss, he posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, showing why he’s the one thing about this franchise that is going to be worth talking about long-term.