Wizards' chances of luring Masai Ujiri to D.C.

Chris Lingebach
June 10, 2019 - 6:58 pm

The Toronto Raptors lead the Warriors 3-1 and are knocking on the door of an NBA Finals upset.

Should the Raptors win their first championship in franchise history, team president Masai Ujiri, already the hottest executive in the NBA, will undoubtedly receive offers from outside suitors. 

The Wizards, whose ongoing search for Ernie Grunfeld's replacement rages on into its 10th week, are among those hot on Ujiri. A report from Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington over the weekend even indicated Wizards owner Ted Leonsis may be willing to offer Ujiri an ownership stake, and/or an opportunity to oversee all of Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

So what are the chances, if the Raptors do complete the upset, that Leonsis can lure Ujiri to D.C.?

"I don't think they're bad," says Brian Geltzeiler of SiriusXM NBA Radio. "I think there's a reason – listen. Ted Leonsis has stayed in wait here on this GM job.

"And a couple things I think you have to understand with this," he told Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan. "First and foremost is that, if he didn't have an indication that Masai Ujiri would be interested in listening, he would have gone ahead and hired somebody already.

"The second thing is this: I think people are making too much over the fact that you're running up against the draft, because the reality is that if Masai doesn't take this job, to my understanding, Ted Leonsis is very comfortable with Tommy Sheppard doing the job. (Sheppard's) been the one that's been organizing workouts, and has their front office doing what it's supposed to do to prepare for the draft."

The NBA Draft arrives June 20 and the Wizards hold the ninth overall pick.

"Now again, if Masai comes in, maybe Tommy stays there in an expanded type of role," Geltzeiler went on. "You have to see how that shakes out and what happens. But I don't think their chances are bad. I think if their chances were bad, they would not have run this up as late as they have.

"And listen. The other thing I'll say is this: If it doesn't end up being Washington, I think it's gonna be somebody. It may not be this summer, but some time in the next year or two I think we're gonna see Masai Ujiri move on from Toronto, especially if they win the title here and he's accomplished his mission there in bringing this franchise a championship. I do think Masai, sooner rather than later, is gonna be on the move and right now I think the Wizards have as good a chance as anyone."

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Related: 'Reasonable possibility' Ujiri leaves Raptors for Wizards