Nuggets GM and current NBA Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri couldn’t turn down the combination of more money and more power— he is leaving the Denver Nuggets to take over as the guy in charge of basketball operations for the Toronto Raptors.
That according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Ujiri reportedly made $500,000 last year, so it’s hard to turn down the pay raise. And the increased power. Confirmation of this is expected from the teams soon.
Ujiri grew up in the Raptors organization, this was the one team that was a draw to him outside of Denver. Denver made a classy move letting Ujiri — whose contract didn’t expire until June — a chance to speak with Toronto. Ujiri gave them a chance to make an offer, but it appears the Nuggets couldn’t match.
Ujiri just won the NBA Executive of the Year award for how he rebuilt the Denver roster in the wake of Carmelo Anthony forcing his way out of town. He will be missed in the Rocky Mountains.
This is a real coup for Toronto — they had been a rudderless organization for years under Bryan Colangelo, a collection of players with seemingly no big picture plan or system.
Ujiri will bring a better big-picture view. There are some good players — Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas — on the roster but also a lot of questions about style and fit. Plus some tough financial decisions (they are at the luxury tax line for next season already if everyone comes back). Ujiri is the perfect guy to make those calls.
Denver will start its search for a replacement immediately. The draft is coming up in a month so there is a time crunch here.
A good rule of thumb: If LeBron James is getting few breakaway dunks, the other team is in trouble.
Enter the Toronto Raptors, who got to watch a dunking clinic by LeBron as he had multiple breakaways during the Cavaliers’ 38-point win on Wednesday night. LeBron played well, and the Cavaliers got a balanced attack from their stars — 25 points from Kevin Love, 23 each from LeBron and Kyrie Irving.
Watch LeBron’s night above. Toronto needs to find a way to keep him from having another game like this Friday.
After a beatdown at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 — a loss where he was just 5-of-12 shooting, a loss that has the Raptors on the brink of playoff elimination — Kyle Lowry did what he had to do and went in front of the media to answer questions and try to explain that loss.
But really, his face when he walked into the interview room and saw the box score summed up the Raptors night perfectly.
Lowry and the Raptors need to turn it around and win at home Friday night to keep their playoff dream alive another day.
The Memphis Grizzlies have found their man — Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale has been offered the head coaching job in Memphis. He’s a smart coach who earned the trust of elite players and was a key part of the staff that helped Miami to a couple of rings.
It’s a good hire. Don’t just take my word for it, check out what a couple Heat players from that era had to say.
Mario Chalmers had a first-hand view — he was traded from Miami to Memphis in the middle of last season. The point guard who went the other way in that deal, Beno Udrih, also helped push the deal along.
Fizdale is going to be a popular hire with the players. That said, if the Grizzlies can’t keep Mike Conley in free agency the team is going to have struggles this season, regardless of who coaches them.
Before Game 5, Cavaliers’ coach Tyronn Lue told Kevin Love just to stay aggressive. Channing Frye told him the same thing.
Love took that advice to heart. From the opening tip of Game 5, Love was attacking — backing down the overmatched Luis Scola and knocking down threes. Love had 12 points in the first quarter on his way to a game-high 25, helping spark an easy, 38-point Cavaliers win in Game 5.
Now, can Love do this on the road in Game 6?