UPDATE: Thursday, May 9, at 3:25 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland
It's official: Masai Ujiri has been named NBA Executive of the Year. The Denver Nuggets' official Twitter feed confirmed the news Thursday afternoon.
Denver Nuggets @nuggets
Congratulations to the 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year, #Nuggets EVP of Basketball Operations, Masai Ujiri! http://t.co/Z42SYWWA122013-5-9 18:23:57
On the same day that George Karl was named NBA Coach of the Year, the Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman is reporting that general manager Masai Ujiri will be named the league's Executive of the Year on Thursday.
There is no word yet on how the voting was distributed. Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was also expected to be in the running for the award, which is voted on by the NBA's 30 teams.
As noted by Fox Sports' Chris Thomasson, this is the second time in five years that a Nuggets executive has won the award. Mark Warkentien won the award in 2009.
Ujiri, who took over basketball operations from Warkentien in 2010, arrived from Toronto and inherited a roster in complete disarray.
One of his first major moves as general manager was shipping off Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. The franchise star had long been unhappy in Denver, and the haul received for the All-Star power forward catalyzed the building of this burgeoning roster. They acquired Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mozgov in the package, with the former two becoming rotation staples.
Despite losing one of the league’s best players, the Nuggets have not missed the playoffs under Ujiri’s stewardship. Along with Karl he has worked on nurturing a talented group of young players and acquiring every asset possible along the way.
This was the season that hard work finally started paying real dividends. Denver went a surprising 57-25 during the regular season, finishing with the third-best record in the Western Conference. The Nuggets led the NBA in scoring at 106.1 points per game, becoming known as arguably the league’s most aggressive group of attackers.
While the Nuggets were eliminated in Round 1 of the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors, Denver's 2012-13 campaign has been considered nothing but a success.
But while this award is acknowledgement of that accomplishment, Ujiri is again heading into an offseason of uncertainty. The young executive's contract expires in June, and he should garner plenty of interest around the league from rebuilding teams.
The Nuggets expect Ujiri to be back with the club, but they may have to pay up following Thursday's announcement.