Nuggets, Masai Ujiri Reportedly ‘Had An Agreement’ Before Raptors Offer

by May 25, 2013

Nuggets president Josh Kroenke told the Denver Post he and Masai Ujiri were putting the finishing touches on a contract extension when the Raptors requested permission to speak to Ujiri. Toronto met with Exec of the Year in Colorado on Friday and offered a hefty deal that could pay as high as $3 million annually, according to Yahoo. The bid and Ujiri’s ties to Toronto will likely weigh heavily in his decision process, as Ujiri thinks about his options over the weekend:

After agreeing in principle to a multi-million dollar and multi-year deal with team president Josh Kroenke prior to this summer, Kroenke said Friday night that as he and Ujiri were working through the final details of the arrangement, the Toronto GM position opened up and Toronto asked permission to interview Ujiri.

“I have understood all along the relationships that Masai has in Toronto, and I respect those immensely,” Kroenke said in a phone interview. “So when Toronto inquired about him recently, I knew that it was going to be a tough situation for everyone strictly because of the relationships involved.”

But Kroenke felt obliged to let him do the interview because of their friendship and Ujiri’s relationships in Toronto. Now Ujiri is mulling over an offer with the Raptors. Yahoo Sports reported it could be as high as $3 million, a high payment for a team executive.

“In my mind,” Kroenke said, “we had an agreement but it doesn’t matter because I would never hold someone back from an opportunity they might be curious about. Especially someone I hold in such high regard as Masai.

“If it was any other team, I wouldn’t even have thought about granting permission to speak to him. But it’s his former team and its not entirely a black-and-white situation. He’ll make the decision he thinks is best for himself, and I’ll support him no matter what.”