A life-changing decision is not reached easily and there will be no quick resolution to the Raptors’ search for a new general manager.
Masai Ujiri, who was the front-runner for the job even before it became officially vacant, is mulling over offers to take the Raptors post once held by one of his mentors, Bryan Colangelo, or to remain as the top basketball decision-maker with the Denver Nuggets.
“Not today,” a league source said Saturday. “Next couple of days.”
Ujiri spent most of Friday meeting with incoming Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke and left with what other NBA sources called a “lucrative” multi-year, multi-million-dollar contract that could almost triple his Denver salary.
But the Nuggets have offered Ujiri a “substantial” raise on a three-year contract that expires at the end of June.
According to one NBA source, Ujiri made about $500,000 on the last year of his Nuggets contract and could be in line for a significant raise; the Raptors are offering a deal in the neighbourhood of $1.5 million annually, sources contend.
“They (the Nuggets) are trying to keep him,” said one person with knowledge of the negotiations.
The Toronto salary, according to sources, is far greater than the Denver offer but other factors will go into any decision made by the 42-year-old Ujiri, who spent three seasons in Toronto as an assistant general manager and director of global scouting.
Not the least of those will be Ujiri’s fit in a revamped Toronto front office where Colangelo is now serving solely as the team’s president without any final say on basketball matters.
Ujiri has long considered Colangelo and Raptors senior advisor Wayne Embry as two of his biggest mentors and supporters, and returning to an organization to usurp Colangelo as the chief basketball decision-maker might be an issue.