Masai Ujiri

Raptors closing in on hiring Masai Ujiri away from Nuggets to head up basketball operations


The momentum is building in the talks between current Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri and the Raptors, and the two sides are in negotiations to move forward with an agrement to bring the reigning Executive of the Year to Toronto.

After a meeting that took place in Colorado on Friday, things seem to be progressing at a rapid pace.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Ujiri will take the next couple days to fully consider the move, but significant momentum has gathered that likely will lead to Ujiri’s departure from the franchise that he completely remade into a Western Conference contender, sources told Y! Sports.

Denver ownership “seems to be moving on,” one league source familiar with the talks told Y! Sports.

Some organizations value front office personnel more than others, and while it’s clear that the job Ujiri did in Denver was well worth the recognition he received, ownership there obviously doesn’t feel the need to engage in a bidding war for the services of a general manager.

In Toronto, the vibe there is quite the opposite. After several years under Bryan Colangelo where the team has struggled to build a winning identity, the Raptors are ready to pay whatever it takes to obtain competent leadership in the front office.

Ujiri has previous ties to the organization, which, along with the job he’s done in Denver, makes him the most attractive candidate for their job.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.