Remember how Ed Stefanski was going to be the next Raptors GM, essentially working under Bryan Colangelo in what would largely be an assistant role since Colangelo is the guy who runs the show? And how it was a done deal and all that?
Yeah, not so much.
Yahoo! Sports reports that the deal has “hit a snag” and is now considered “stalled.” What that “means” is that Stefanski has “found” another job with better money and/or perks and is trying to get an “actual job” that involves “actual responsibility.” Where, might you ask? And who’s going to take the Raps job, then? Take it away, Wojster!
In the past several days, sources said, this development has caused former New Orleans Hornets GM Jeff Bower to re-emerge at the forefront of the search.
It’s unclear what caused the talks between Toronto president Bryan Colangelo and Stefanski to come undone, but several sources said what seemed inevitable a week ago – the hiring of Stefanski – has been derailed. Stefanski is trying to become more engaged in the Trail Blazers’ search, sources said.
via Raptors still looking for GM – NBA – Yahoo! Canada Sports.
The whole Sixers thing is bizarre. Thorn is brought in despite Stefanski’s presence, then new ownership comes in and obviously spooks Stefanski into pursuing other options. Meanwhile, he’s turning down a cushy job up north so that he can go and be the next in a long line of Blazers GMs who get canned because their owner is moodier than that chick I dated in college who said the Cure was her favorite band.
And then there’s Jeff Bower…
Yeah, no clue what to say about that.
This whole circular structure of NBA GMs is really confusing sometimes. Have we mentioned Kevin Pritchard still doesn’t have a job?
Masai Ujiri is the new general manager — technically Executive Vice President of Basketball operations — for the Denver Nuggets.
Which led a lot of people to say, “who?” But over at TrueHoop they have the story of how he went from a former European player crashing on couches and trying to get part-time gig anywhere in the league to a guy with one of the most coveted jobs in the NBA.
David Thorpe — the Executive Director of the Pro Training Center, ESPN writer and just generally one of the good guys — helped Ujiri get his start.
It sounded like he had a good feel for where the good international players were playing. From Africa, and all over Europe. He knew all kinds of players, it seemed, who could help U.S. high school or college programs. I wasn’t even thinking about the pros at that point.
I told him it was a few weeks until the Final Four in Atlanta. I wasn’t sure I had room for him to stay with me, but if he could get there I would meet him there and introduce him to everyone I could… We went to dinner with [Florida State coaches] Leonard Hamilton and Stan Jones. Within minutes he and Leonard Hamilton were good friends. We met all kinds of people all weekend. You know how people talk about videos spreading virally on the Internet? Masai spread virally that weekend. By the time Sunday rolled around, he had meetings set up with all kinds of coaches. People I had never met. Everyone wanted him to help them find good players at every level.
Masai kept working, kept bringing good players in from places people hadn’t been, and kept meeting people and shaking hands. He kept working hard. It took a couple years of doing that for nothing before the Magic hired him as an overseas scout. And kept working and sleeping on couches.
NBA scouts kind of do one of two things. They either go by themselves and work alone, or go where everybody else is and meet all the other scouts and basketball people. Masai did the latter. He met everybody. He became friends with everybody. After a couple of years, Denver came calling [and made him a scout]. Then he got a real job. No more staying with friends. That was the last time I ever helped him get a job. By the time Toronto wanted to hire him, he was far beyond needing my help.
Go read the whole post. It makes you appreciate how hard Ujiri worked to get where he is. We talked about how Josh Kroenke — the soon-to-be owner with a basketball background — will have the real power with the Nuggets. But that shouldn’t get in the way of the Ujiri story. The NBA could use more of that.
Congratulations Chris Grant, the job completely rebuilding the Cleveland Cavaliers is now yours.
Grant, the assistant general manager who was promoted to the big chair when Danny Ferry was let go, had his contract extended to five years, according to Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Back in 2008 Grant was a frontrunner for the Hawks GM job but turned it down and got a five-year deal with the Cavaliers. This new deal is an extension of that one with a raise, Windhorst said.
Grant has about the least enviable GM job around — an emotionally devastated fan base and a team that needs to be stripped down and rebuilt from the ground up. That means a few years of losing. We’ll see how well Grant can do that job, and how much owner Dan Gilbert gets I his way.
The Denver general manager job will not be going to a name you know (unless you are an NBA front office insider, and even then).
Former Suns executive David Griffin turned down the job, according to Ric Bucher of ESPN. So to be clear, an unemployed guy just turned down the job.
That’s not really as big a shock as it sounds. The Nuggets Josh Kroenke — son of owner Stan Kroenke and the guy in line to get the team if his father does buy the St. Louis Rams — and family advisor Bret Bearup are expected to be heavily involved in player personnel moves. It was those two that met recently with Carmelo Anthony about the contract extension the team has offered but Melo has not signed.
That means whoever gets hired as GM will do the legwork and have input, but there are questions about real power. And since Kroenke and Bearup will be making the calls, they don’t want to pay the $1 million a year that most new GMs are getting on average (it’s more if you want a name like Kevin Pritchard involved). The top names out there will not accept that money and situation.
Masai Ujiri, director of global scouting for the Toronto Raptors, may be the next guy in line, Bucher says. He’s a guy with good player knowledge who could fit well with how Denver sees the GM role.
Dell Demps has a history of dealing with point guard controversies. He recently helped with the George Hill/Tony Parker situation. He knows that there’s a good part and a bad part to having two extremely talented point guards. This is a good thing, since he’ll be stepping into the exact same situation in New Orleans.
The Hornets are set to hire Demps for GM of New Orleans, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. The Hornets needed a stable voice among the chaos of their offseason which has seen turnover in their general manager after the draft, a new coach brought in, and the impending sale of the team. Demps provides that, along with Monty Williams, their new head coach. Both Demps and Williams are products of the Spurs’ system in San Antonio, and Demps had experience with development as manager of the D-League affiliate Austin Toros (owned by the Spurs).
Demps’ development skills are going to be crucial for the team as it looks to build a roster for the future, with Peja Stojakovic and others’ long-term contracts going the way of the dodo. He also has experience in dealing with roster logjams, like that of the Hill-Parker conundrum, and trying to find minutes for Marcus Thornton. Finally, Demps brings a strong business background he’s worked to cultivate, alongside experience as a former player. It’s hard to argue it’s a bad choice, though some will question his pedigree.
Still, it means the Hornet’s front office has stabilized, and can now turn its attentions to the only question anyone wants to ask and that Demps may need to get used to.
“Can they keep Chris Paul?”