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After Raptors win title, new report puts Wizards' pursuit of Masai Ujiri front and center

After Raptors win title, new report puts Wizards' pursuit of Masai Ujiri front and center

 

Here. We. Go.

The Toronto Raptors wrapped up the franchise’s first NBA championship with their Game 6 win over the Golden State Warriors Thursday night. The local angle, beyond the devastating injury suffered by Kevin Durant, came into focus moments after the final buzzer.

The official pursuit of Raptors President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri by the Washington Wizards could begin.

NBC Sports Washington reported Saturday that the Wizards were preparing a massive offer for the architect of Toronto’s title team that went beyond running the basketball team.

Overseeing all of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which includes Capital One Arena, the Washington Capitals and several other team properties. Personal compensation potentially reaching eight figures annually; Sources tell NBC Sports Washington discussions may begin around six years, $60 million. It’s possible an ownership stake in Monumental becomes part of the negotiation.

That report received a boost Thursday when ESPN reported similar details.

We’ll see how quickly developments progress from here. Ujiri, 48 likely celebrates the championship for a few days before contemplating any next steps. Washington did not meet with Denver’s Tim Connelly until five days after the Nuggets were eliminated from the playoffs.

There’s also the matter of Toronto’s ownership granting permission for Washington to meet with Ujiri, who arrived in Toronto in 2013. Don't assume that comes if at all.


Even if Toronto's ownership relents on Washington meeting with their front office leader, the Raptors likely would demand compensation from the Wizards should Ujiri look to move considering he has two years remaining on the current contract. Sources believe Ujuri would receive around $7 million for each of those two seasons.

Back on April 30, NBC Sports Washington first began reporting why the native of Nigeria might be open to leaving a title contender for a Wizards team coming off a 50-loss season and facing numerous challenges moving forward.

The larger political platform Washington D.C. provides would help Ujri with his outside interests including the “Basketball Without Borders” program. Ujiri’s wife is also from the D.C. area.

Toronto's main off-season focus centers on re-signing Kawhi Leonard. The pending free agent became the first player in league history to win Finals MVP once from each conference. Though rumors have long sent the Southern California native to the Clippers or Lakers, perhaps the chance to repeat as champion alters Leonard's thinking. Without Leonard, Toronto's 2019-20 projections dim and perhaps opens Ujiri up for other opportunities.

That Golden State could be without Durant and Klay Thompson next season after both reportedly suffered significant injuries is another potential factor in Leonard's and Ujiri's decisions.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis fired longtime President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld April 2. Since then, VP of Basketball Operations Tommy Sheppard has held the interim title.

Indications have Sheppard running things for Washington during the June 20 NBA Draft. He might be elevated to the head job if Ujiri doesn’t arrive.

We’ll see what happens. Just as the NBA season closes, it’s now game on for the Wizards.

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

After a thrilling back-and-forth contest to start the WNBA Semifinals, the Washington Mystics and Elena Delle Donne are back in action to host the Las Vegas Aces for Game 2.

Washington took Game 1 97-95 over Las Vegas in their first game in nine days to start the series. Rusty and stuttering out of the gate, the Mystics were able to gut out a win after an explosive run in the third and early fourth quarter. 

Emma Meesseman (27 points) led the charge for Washington. In the third quarter, she took over the game totaling 13 of the team's 26 points and got the Mystics back in control of the contest. Elena Delle Donne finished with 24 points and hit the game-clinching basket in the final minute of regulation.

A'ja Wilson had 23 points in a losing effort, despite playing all but three minutes. Off the bench, Kelsey Plum emerged with 16 points to give the Aces an additional spark. 

Game 2 is on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. The best-of-five series features the high-powered and No. 1 seeded Mystics against the most defensively sound squad in the No. 4 seeded Aces.

The Aces entered the series with a ton of momentum, fresh off one of the craziest wins in WNBA history. They gut-punched the top seed in the opening half and nearly stole it in the closing seconds. Nevertheless, it appears the Mystics with the third-best offense in the WNBA's existence found their footing and will be better prepared for Game 2. 

ACES VS. MYSTICS GAME 2:

Who: Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics

What: WNBA Semifinals Game 2

When: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington D.C.

TV Channel: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

MYSTICS vs. ACES WNBA SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE:

Game 1: Mystics 97, Aces 95 (Mystics lead 1-0)

Game 2: Thurs, Sept. 19: Aces at Mystics, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 3: Sun, Sept. 22: Mystics at Aces, 5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 4: Tue, Sept 24: Mystics at Aces, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

Game 5: Thurs, Sept. 26: Aces at Mystics, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

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A comprehensive timeline of Isaiah Thomas' injury history

A comprehensive timeline of Isaiah Thomas' injury history

Isaiah Thomas is out for six to eight weeks after undergoing successful surgery on his radial collateral ligament in his left thumb Wednesday.

His absence will leave the Wizards perilously thin at point guard heading into the season.

“This was an unfortunate setback for Isaiah, but with his resolve and the top care he will receive from our medical team, we expect him to make a full recovery,” Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard said in a release. “In the meantime, he will continue to mentor our young guards and have a positive impact on the team as we start training camp.”

Thomas' thumb issue is the latest in a long line of injuries that have caused him to miss time during his nine-year NBA career.

Here's a list of injuries that Isaiah Thomas has sustained during his playing career:

April 2013 — A quadriceps contusion kept Thomas out for 10 games, the first time in his career he was sidelined with an injury.

Aug. 14, 2014 — Thomas underwent arthroscopic wrist surgery during the offseason to fix an issue he'd been dealing with since the prior season.

Nov. - Dec. 2014 — Thomas sprained his ankle while with the Phoenix Suns. The Suns went 3-5 in his absence.

March 9, 2015 — Thomas, after moving to the Celtics, missed eight games with a lower back injury. Boston went 5-3 while Thomas was sidelined. 

Dec. 2016 — In the next season, still with the Celtics, a groin strain kept Thomas out for four games.

March 16, 2017 — Later that same season, a knee bruise sidelined Thomas for two more games.

May 4, 2017 — During the playoffs, Thomas had his tooth knocked out in the middle of a game. He didn't miss any time, but it's impossible to make this list without including that incident.

May 20, 2017 — Two weeks later, a hip injury kept him out for the rest of the Celtics' playoff run.

Sept. 7, 2017 — After being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cavs' medical staff had questions about the health of Thomas' hip. To complete the deal, the Celtics sent another second-round draft pick via the Miami Heat to the Cavaliers. Lingering hip issues would keep Thomas out until Jan. 6, 2018.

March 29, 2018 — Thomas was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in early February, only to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right hip at the end of March. With a projected four-month recovery time, he was done for the season.

Sept. 18, 2019 — Thomas finished the 2018 season with the Denver Nuggets and signed with the Wizards in July of 2019. On Sept. 16, he injured his left thumb in team workouts. On Sept. 18, the team announced he'd undergone successful surgery and would be out for six to eight weeks.

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