The Toronto Raptors offseason plans and the direction of the franchise hinge on Masai Ujiri. Will the president decide to sign a new deal and continue to lead the Raptors? Or will he look for a new challenge either within the confines of the NBA or abroad?
While Ujiri’s most likely landing spot if he goes somewhere else within the NBA has long been rumored to be alongside Russell Westbrook with the Wizards, the Dallas Mavericks now have an opening in their front office after deciding to out longtime executive Donnie Nelson. Head coach Rick Carlisle bit the dust soon after.
The Mavericks could look to potentially replace Nelson with a big name like Ujiri. They have a superstar player in Luka Doncic, enough assets to get him more stars, and the ability to allow Ujiri to pick whoever he wants to be the next head coach.
The Raptors may not be able to bring Ujiri back, but the idea of him leaving for Dallas might not be super practical. Sure, he will have a solid foundation, but the way that the organization is run is totally antithetical to what Ujiri has been accustomed to with the Raptors.
Masai Ujiri likely wouldn’t leave the Toronto Raptors for the Mavericks.
If there is one name that people know around the Mavericks, even more so than Doncic, it’s Mark Cuban. Not only was he one of the most visible owners in the league when he purchased the Mavericks, but calling him a “hands-on” owner that mingles in everyday moves would be the understatement of the millennium.
Say what you will about MLSE and the higher-ups, but they have been perfectly comfortable with letting Ujiri run this team by himself. Ujiri’s personality meshed with what we are hearing about Dallas simply would not be a fit.
The key factor in Ujiri’s hypothetical interest in Dallas would be the status of Haralabos “Bob” Voulgaris, who has risen from numbers-cruncher to pseudo-GM to the point where he was making lineups and draft picks for the two ousted decision-makers.
Do you really think Ujiri would leave the Raptors to end up in constant conflict with Cuban and someone in Voulgaris that he apparently trusts more than Nelson and Carlisle? Considering Adrian Wojnarowski already thinks that hiring a president of basketball operations “of stature” and keeping Voulgaris is impossible, Raptors fans don’t have to worry.
Ujiri is going to need the freedom to make moves without reproach or constant conflict with regards to what ownership specifically wants to see. Toronto allowed him to run the show, and he turned them into champions. If Dallas is unwilling to step back and let him take over, which is seems like they are right now, Ujiri wouldn’t have any interest in that opening.