- The Washington Times - Friday, June 14, 2019

The Washington Wizards will request permission from the NBA champion Toronto Raptors to interview president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, with plans to make him a “staggering” offer to take over their front office, ESPN reported early Friday morning.

The Wizards fired general manager Ernie Grunfeld in April and have yet to fill the position. Reports hinted that they were interested in Ujiri, whose team was still playing until defeating the Golden State Warriors four games to two in the NBA Finals Thursday, delivering Toronto its first title.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Wizards would offer Ujiri as much as $10 million a year, full control of basketball operations and a greater overall role in Monumental Sports and Entertainment that even could include ownership equity of the Wizards and Capitals.

This all comes just one week away from the NBA draft. The Wizards, who hold the No. 9 pick, have prepared for the draft with interim general manager Tommy Sheppard in charge.

Washington tried to hire Tim Connelly from the Denver Nuggets last month, but Connelly, despite having roots in Maryland and the District, decided to stay in Denver.

Pursuing Ujiri would be an ambitious move for the Wizards. The 48-year-old is considered the architect of the Raptors‘ championship-winning team. Toronto traded DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard and replaced coach Dwane Casey with Nick Nurse last offseason and added players like Marc Gasol during the season.

Ujiri won NBA Executive of the Year in 2013 with the Nuggets, and he’s likely to win the same award to mark this season’s success.

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