The Washington Wizards are preparing to offer Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri a deal that could approach $10 million annually and deliver him the opportunity for ownership equity, league sources tell ESPN.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is expected to reach out to Toronto ownership soon to request formal permission to meet with Ujiri and offer a staggering financial package that would include running the Wizards’ basketball operations and, perhaps, taking on a larger leadership role in the Monumental Sports and Entertainment company that oversees the Wizards and NHL’s Capitals, league sources said.
Ujiri’s vision and team building helped deliver the Raptors their first NBA title on Thursday night, beating the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors in six games.
Washington stalled its search for a top basketball executive in the aftermath of Denver Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly rejecting an offer on May 20. Washington ownership has been pleased with the performance of interim GM Tommy Sheppard, who has instituted a number of cultural and process changes since replacing his former boss, Ernie Grunfeld, in April.
The Wizards have interviewed two candidates, Oklahoma City executive Troy Weaver and former Atlanta and Cleveland GM Danny Ferry, for the job, league sources said.
Ujiri, who has two years left on his contract, is the architect of the first championship in Raptors history. He’s responsible for building the Denver Nuggets into a contender and, now, the Raptors into a championship franchise.
Ujiri, 48, is also in the difficult position of needing to navigate this Wizards courtship as his franchise prepares to make its closing case to free agent Kawhi Leonard about staying with the Raptors on a long-term deal.