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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Articles tagged: Masai Ujiri

Report: Masai Ujiri, Sam Presti could be possibilities for Knicks’ front office

Masai Ujiri Raptors

The New York Knicks have already put head coach David Fizdale on the hot seat and may also look to make changes to their front office. If the Knicks change up their front office, some names have already emerged as potential targets for the team.

The New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy reported on Tuesday that Masai Ujiri and Sam Presti have emerged around the league as executives the Knicks might target.

Bondy further reported Trajan Langdon could be another name in the mix.

Steve Mills has served as Knicks team president and Scott Perry as GM since 2017. The two are in their third season leading the team, and the tenure has not gone well. The Knicks had the worst record in the league last year (seemingly by intention), and at 2-8, they have started out as one of the worst teams this season.

The Knicks have been a bad franchise for a while, and most of that is due to poor ownership. Hiring Ujiri or Presti would help them turn things around, but one has to wonder whether either of the two would have interest in working for James Dolan.

Raptors’ Masai Ujiri issues statement on Kawhi Leonard departure

Masai Ujiri Raptors

The Toronto Raptors have issued their first public statement since learning Kawhi Leonard was leaving the organization.

Team president Masai Ujiri thanked both Leonard and Danny Green for their contributions to the Raptors’ title run, wishing them the best for the future while affirming the organization’s intent to continue winning championships.

It’s a fairly by-the-book statement, but a nice gesture all the same. Leonard’s legacy especially is quite secure after winning Finals MVP, and he’ll be long remembered in Toronto for his contributions, even if his tenure there only lasted one season. His year was so memorable, in fact, that it’s unlikely that any Raptor will wear his No. 2 again.

Officer involved in altercation with Masai Ujiri says he has concussion

Masai Ujiri Raptors

The security officer who was involved in a physical altercation with Masai Ujiri after Game 6 of the NBA Finals says he suffered serious injuries as a result of the unprovoked attack from the Toronto Raptors president, and he has not ruled out filing a lawsuit.

David Mastagni, the attorney representing the deputy who says he was struck in the head by Ujiri, told KPIX 5 in San Francisco on Monday that the officer has been unable to return to work and is dealing with significant medical issues.

“He has a serious concussion; a templar mandibular joint injury, which is a serious jaw injury,” Mastagni said.

Mastagni described Ujiri’s actions as “an unprovoked significant hit to the jaw of the law enforcement officer,” and he said his client has been billed as a racist for stopping Ujiri from coming onto the court at Oracle Arena simply because he did not produce the proper credentials. He hinted that a lawsuit could be filed.

“All options are on the table. No options are off the table. … This is an issue of credentials or no credentials, not race,” Mastagni said.

Ujiri was trying to get onto the court following Game 6 to celebrate with his team when he was stopped by the deputy. A video appeared to show the end of the altercation but did not show Ujiri hitting the officer. Police are pursuing a case against the executive, and the Raptors say the incident is being investigated and they are cooperating with authorities.

Warriors ticket holder disputes police’s story about Masai Ujiri

Masai Ujiri Raptors

A Golden State Warriors season ticket holder is disputing part of the police’s account of an incident involving Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri after Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

Ujiri was accused of hitting an Alameda County sheriff deputy in the face while trying to get onto the court to celebrate his team’s championship. The altercation allegedly stemmed from an issue over the president’s credentials.

Greg Wiener, a 61-year-old Warriors fan, says he was standing next to the officer when the incident occurred. He says the officer did not ask for credentials nor did Ujiri strike the officer in the face.

The AP’s Rob Gillies shared Wiener’s comments:

Wiener felt compelled to speak out after seeing the police’s comments.

The police say they are pursuing a misdemeanor charge against Ujiri over the incident.

Ujiri, 48, has been with the Raptors since 2013 after previously leading the Denver Nuggets. He helped deliver the team’s first championship in franchise history.

Report: Wizards have ‘no imminent plans’ to speak with Masai Ujiri

Masai Ujiri Raptors

The Washington Wizards need to find someone to run their basketball operations, but it might be time to tap the brakes on Masai Ujiri speculation.

According to Candace Buckner of the Washington Post, the Wizards have “no imminent plans” to reach out to the Toronto Raptors to set up talks with Ujiri despite a report Thursday night stating that a “massive offer” was coming his way.

Obviously, there are very different reports making the rounds. The Raptors won’t want to let their team president go on the heels of a championship either way, but the conflicting information makes it very unclear where Washington stands right now. It doesn’t mean they’re not interested in Ujiri, but this report makes it sound like they’re not exactly breaking down Toronto’s door to talk to him.

In the immediate term, Ujiri has some issues to take care of that have nothing to do with current or future potential employment opportunities.

Report: Police pursuing case against Masai Ujiri over Game 6 incident

Masai Ujiri Raptors

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri was involved in an altercation with a security officer as he was trying to make his way onto the court at Oracle Arena following his team’s win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, and prosecutors do not intend to sweep the incident under the rug.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to USA Today on Friday that it is pursuing a misdemeanor complaint against Ujiri for battery of a police officer. Ujiri is accused of shoving an officer twice and hitting him in the face after he was stopped from coming onto the court to celebrate Toronto’s championship at Oracle Arena.

A video captured by NBC Bay Area appeared to show the end of the altercation:

Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, told USA Today that security staffers were told not to let anyone onto the court without proper credentials, and Ujiri did not have his showing.

“Mr. Ujiri didn’t produce them and pushed our deputy out of the way to gain access to the court. At that point our deputy tried to stop him and pushed him backward and then Mr. Ujiri came back with a second shove, a more significant push that, with his forward momentum, his arm struck our deputy in the face,” Kelly said. “At that point our deputy pushed Mr. Ujiri away again and some NBA security people and others intervened and he ended up walking onto the court.”

Kelly said the sheriff’s office decided to “take the high road” by not arresting Ujiri on national television, but it is clear they want Ujiri to be held accountable.

Ujiri, 48, joined the Raptors in 2013 and helped build them into a contender. His decisions to gamble by acquiring Kawhi Leonard, firing Dwane Casey, and adding Marc Gasol at the trade deadline culminated with the team winning the championship. He reportedly is being pursued by other teams, but he gave a strong hint on Thursday that he is not planning to go anywhere.

Masai Ujiri promises Raptors will win more championships

Masai Ujiri Raptors

Masai Ujiri was largely responsible for building the roster that helped the Toronto Raptors capture their first championship in franchise history, and he is not going to be satisfied winning just one.

Following his team’s win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, Ujiri “guaranteed” that the Raptors will win more titles in his tenure with the team.

The biggest takeaway from that remark is that Ujiri doesn’t plan to go anywhere. The Raptors president is going to be pursued by numerous rival teams this offseason, and at least one is prepared to make a massive offer to convince him to leave Toronto. He could — and should — use an offer like that to get more money from the Raptors, but he clearly wants to stick around.

Ujiri took a risk by trading for Kawhi Leonard knowing he could be a one-year rental, and it has already paid off. If Leonard decides to stay for at least another season, there’s no reason the Raptors can’t start thinking about a repeat. And even if Leonard does leave, Ujiri is considered one of the best executives in the NBA for a reason. He’ll figure something else out.