Ujiri: I’m staying in Toronto
By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
In June, Ujiri’s team defeated the Golden State Warriors to win their first championship in team history. They also snapped a streak of two streak Championships by the Warriors.
“For me, it’s always been about Toronto,” Ujiri said. “I love it here. My family loves it here. My wife loves it here, which is very important. My kids are Canadians. You want to win more. I can continue to address teams wanting me and all those things. That’s a blessing in life. For me, the blessing is being wanted here and finding a place that makes you happy and finding challenges that really make you grow as a person.
“I identify with this place and I love it; In my mind, I’m here.”
Ujiri was in consideration with the Washington Wizards top job despite Ted Leonsis’ claim that they were not interested in him. The Wizards are looking for a President of Basketball Operations after they fired Ernie Grunfeld on April 2nd.
The Wizards did not publicly ask for permission to interview Ujiri, but his name was floated around. His name was mentioned when Tim Connolly refused the job.
Connolly — who grew up in the Baltimore, Maryland area and also attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C. after beginning his college journey at Fordham University in New York — is the Denver Nuggets President of Basketball Operations. Despite previous experience working in the Wizards Basketball Operations Department, he he did not want to relocate across country to a team in flux.
With the Nuggets, he has a team that has a nice young core. The Wizards, instead, have just two key players — and John Wall may not even play during the 2019-20 season.
Ujiri — who is an English born, Nigerian executive — joined the Raptors in 2013. He signed a five-year, $15 million deal on May 31, 2013 to take over as the Raptors GM.
In 2016, he was named the team’s President of Basketball Operations after his role in helping the Raptors reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the first-time in team history. He relinquished the GM role to Bobby Webster.