The Raptors are the 2018-19 NBA Champions, but for the Wizards, they are wasting no time making arrangements to speak to their dream candidate for their President of Basketball Operations vacancy.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is expected to reach out to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment for permission to speak to Masai Ujiri, their President of Basketball Operations. Assuming everything goes well in an interview with him, he could be the Wizards’ new President of Basketball Operations, receive an annual salary of $10 million, have a general role in Monumental Sports and Entertainment AND get an ownership stake.
This is not far off from Ben Standig’s reporting that Ujiri could have a general role in Monumental. Standig was also the first Wizards reporter to say that Ujiri was “intrigued” by the vacancy.
If Ujiri comes to Washington, how long would the contract be?
David Aldridge and Fred Katz of The Athletic have a possible answer. According to them, the Wizards will offer up to a six year, $60 million deal. That lines up with Wojnarowski’s reporting.
The length of the six-year contract is also significant. On May 17, it was reported that Denver Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly was offered a four-year contract and a salary above $4 million per year. Connelly turned the offer down.
John Wall’s four-year supermax contract would end at the same time as Connelly’s four-year offer, which is after the 2022-23 season. So the shorter contract length indicated that Leonsis was wary about Connelly, probably because he doesn’t have that long of a track record as a President of Basketball Operations. And Connelly may have turned the job down because he may not have an opportunity to lead the Wizards in a post-John Wall supermax era.
With Ujiri, it’s different. If he comes to Washington, he is getting SIX years, where he can see the Wizards for two years after Wall’s supermax contract comes off the books. That is definitely a vote of confidence.
After all, Ujiri just constructed an NBA championship team. But also, Leonsis probably realizes that he can’t get Ujiri (or any other suitable candidate) to take the job unless the length goes past Wall’s supermax.
Finally, let’s assume Ujiri is hired as the President of Basketball Operations. When does that happen? Will he be hired right before the NBA Draft next Thursday, June 20?
And here’s the biggest question of them all. Why would Leonsis be willing to hire Ujiri after a “first date” and presumably one two-hour meeting when he said in a May podcast that he wanted to take his time interviewing the right candidate? While I understand why he would want to make a move, it’s also seems hypocritical.
So, now, the clock is ticking for the Wizards to OFFICIALLY make their move on Ujiri. Do you think the Wizards can seal the deal? Will Ujiri do a great job in Washington? Let us know in the comments below.