Masai Ujiri Says He's Committed to Raptors Amid Wizards Rumors: 'I Love It Here'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 25, 2019

Denver Nuggets executive vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, along with president Josh Kroenke, not seen, addresses the media about the trade of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to the New York Knicks, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, in Denver. In a swap that was being finalized Tuesday, the Nuggets dealt their two most popular players, Anthony and Billups, along with three backups to the Knicks for a package of four young players, three draft picks and cash in a megadeal that reshapes both franchises. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
Barry Gutierrez/Associated Press

Nearly two weeks after the Toronto Raptors won their first NBA championship, team president Masai Ujiri has confirmed he intends to remain with the organization. 

Ujiri made the announcement during a Tuesday press conference"For me, it's always been about Toronto. I love it here. … My wife loves it here, which is very important. My kids are Canadian."

Immediately after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Washington Wizards were prepared to offer Ujiri a deal worth at least $10 million annually and an ownership stake in the organization to run their basketball operations. 

Instead, Ujiri expressed his desire to help Toronto win multiple championships. 

"We want to experience this moment here again and again and again. ... Serge [Ibaka] came in the other day and was like, 'Boss man, Boss man, I really think we can win two more,'" he said. 

As much as Ujiri wants to keep the Raptors on top of the NBA world, he jokingly presented one potential scenario he considered for his press conference:

In the wake of winning a title, the next order of business for Ujiri and the Raptors will be convincing Kawhi Leonard to re-sign.

Per Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, Leonard is "seriously considering" staying in Toronto after he reportedly declined his $21.3 million option for next season. 

"I've had very good meetings with (Leonard) the last few days," Ujiri told reporters about retaining the NBA Finals MVP. 

The Raptors could bring back most of the roster. Leonard and Danny Green are their only significant unrestricted free agents. Marc Gasol has a $25.6 million player option he must decide on by June 27. 

Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby are all under contract for at least one more season. 

Even with a lot of pieces potentially on the move around the NBA during free agency, Ujiri will bring back the nucleus of a title team if Leonard stays. He's been able to make bold moves in six years with the organization, so no one should bet against his ability to retain the star.

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