By Harry Allison
Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri says he’s staying with the team he helped build into an NBA champion.
“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. … In my mind, I’m here,” Ujiri said today.
Earlier this month, league sources told ESPN the Washington Wizards were preparing to offer Ujiri a deal approaching $10 million annually with an opportunity for ownership equity.
Ujiri, 48, who has two years left on his contract, is the architect of the first championship in Raptors history. He also helped to build the Denver Nuggets into a contender.
Ujiri will now focus on retaining NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who will become a free agent next week.
Ujiri said he texted with Leonard as recently as Monday night and talked to Leonard’s uncle and adviser, Dennis Robertson, earlier on Tuesday.
“We’ll wait. He’s our player and he’s a superstar on our team and we’ll wait on that,” Ujiri said.
Ujiri acquired Leonard and Danny Green last summer in a major trade with the San Antonio that sent DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a first-round draft pick to the Spurs.
Ujiri finished fourth in voting for the NBA Executive of the Year award, won by Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst.