The Raptors did in fact get permission to talk with their first choice to replace Bryan Colangelo as G.M the current NBA Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri. He met with Tim Leiweke for most of Friday according to many sources covering the story. It is said that Raptors will be offering far more money than Denver is willing or able to spend at the end of the day.
The Raptors are now left to sit and wait just like they did just about 10 months ago after making Steve Nash an offer he couldn’t refuse. Thing is Nash did refuse and it took awhile for him to do so. Expect Masai to come to a decision in a much quicker fashion.
If the Raptors fail to land Ujiri that will be a tough pill to swallow and a hard sell to a fan base that is use to seeing the Raptors fail at landing their first choices for things. If Tim Leiweke wants to establish he can enable change for this franchise that has had 18 years or more struggle than success he needs to get his guy here.
It also would speak to a larger problem if they failed to land Masai. Ujiri more than most understands the Raptors’ unique position and circumstances in surviving in the NBA. He after all worked as part of the organization under Bryan Colangelo. It is unclear if Colangelo being kept around will be considered a positive of negative for Ujiri. He considers Bryan and Wayne Emery as two of his mentors.
If the Raptors fail they have already reached out to seek permission to talk with Kevin Pritchard. That said make no mistake about it in that Masai Ujiri is their number one choice. Anyone else will be a distant second and in some ways be viewed as a failure.
As for Ujiri’s current employers the Nuggets aside from not having the money to outbid the Raptors they do of course want Ujiri to remain. He clearly has done a fantastic job in guiding the Nuggets through the tricky departure of Carmelo Anthony. Likely learning a lot of what not to do with having a front row seat for watching Chris Bosh cut bait for Miami.
One way or the other it would seem like we should find out this week if the Raptors get the big fish they are trying to land this year. Ujiri while he will never sell a jersey with his name on it like Nash no doubt would have, he still maybe able to have as big an impact. So we sit and wait like the girl hoping that the hot guy will pick up the phone and call her.