For all his deft maneuvering as an executive, Denver’s Masai Ujiri is one of the lowest-paid general managers in the NBA. This year’s winner of the executive of the year award reportedly makes less than $1 million, a laughably low salary in an industry in which his “employees” can make 20 times that figure.
With Toronto’s new CEO, Tim Leiweke, acting aggressively to change the culture of the franchise, the Raptors have hotly pursued Ujiri as part of their makeover. In a meeting that could happen within the next 24 hours, the Raptors are expected to make Ujiri a multi-year offer than would triple his salary, reports Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.
Ujiri began his NBA career as an unpaid scout for coach Doc Rivers in Orlando. If hired by the Raptors, this would be the second time the team has hired him away from the Nuggets. Bryan Colangelo, then Toronto’s G.M. and current team president, hired Ujiri as director of international scouting after four seasons as an international scout for Denver. He also served as assistant G.M. under Colangelo in Toronto.
Just 42 years old, Ujiri has quickly risen to the top of his profession. He turned a dicey situation with Carmelo Anthony into a trade with New York that positioned the Nuggets to become one of the league’s most entertaining teams. He played a role in drafting Kenneth Faried and the 2009 draft-day trade for Ty Lawson, as well as trading power forward Nene to Washington for JaVale McGee.
His rebuilding effort will get off to a rough start in Toronto, however. The Raptors do not have a pick in this year’s NBA draft.