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.
After missing two entire seasons, all signs are pointing to 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid finally taking the court this season. Last week, Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Embiid has looked great in his workouts and is on track to play in the preseason, and Embiid himself echoed that sentiment over the weekend. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Marc Narducci that he feels “100 percent.”
There’s always a possibility and fear that Embiid’s recurring foot problems will come back, but for now, all indications are that he’s feeling good and will be able to contribute this season, which should make Sixers fans excited.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.