Wizards

Quick Links

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri on staying in Toronto: 'In my mind, I'm here'

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri on staying in Toronto: 'In my mind, I'm here'

Just a few weeks ago, the Masai Ujiri-to-D.C. movement was gaining steam quickly. Just moments after Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors began celebrating their NBA Championship, reports began to swirl that the Wizards were prepared to aggressively pursue the GM.

Sources told NBC Sports Washington that there could be the possibility of a sort of mega-deal that went beyond just giving him control of the Wizards. But Wizards owner Ted  Leonsis denied earlier this month that the team had reached out, saying that "we have never planned in any way to ask for permission to speak to him during our process."

And on Tuesday, Uriji seemed to make it official that he will stay in Toronto.

"I love it here, my family loves it here. My wife loves it here, which is very important. My kids are Canadians. You want to win more, for me," Ujiri said on Tuesday during his end-of-season press conference.

"Yeah, I can continue to address teams wanting me and all those things. That's a blessing in life," Ujiri said. "For me the blessing is being wanted here and finding a place that makes you happy, and finding challenges that really make you grow as a person. This place has made me grow as a person."

"I identify with this place and I love it. So in my mind, I'm here."

On paper, Ujiri and the Wizards looked to be a good match. Washington could offer him money and control, while also allowing him to work with his "Basketball without Borders" program in D.C.

As NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh explained recently, the Raptors late-season championship run could have messed up the timing and situation that could have lured Ujiri to a new team.

The Wizards made it through the NBA Draft without a new GM, but as July and free agency approach, the search may continue to ramp up.

The answer is still out there, it just may not be Masai Ujiri anymore.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Redrafting the 2012 NBA Draft: Damian Lillard causes major shakeup at the top

Redrafting the 2012 NBA Draft: Damian Lillard causes major shakeup at the top

The 2012 NBA Draft will be remembered as a class with immense talent at the top, such as Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard, with numerous second-round steals, like Draymond Green, Khris Middleton and Jae Crowder that went on to become All-Stars or steady contributors. 

Eight years later, how would teams pick differently? Would Davis still go No. 1? How high does Green rise?

Let's find out.

CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY

Quick Links

Wizards take Bradley Beal over Draymond Green in 2012 NBA redraft

Wizards take Bradley Beal over Draymond Green in 2012 NBA redraft

Damian Lillard went first to New Orleans, Anthony Davis came off the board at No. 2 to Charlotte, and the Wizards were left with a similar decision they had eight years ago in our 2012 NBA redraft

Bradley Beal was available, but yet so was Draymond Green. Green was passed on 34 times back in 2012 but has since become one of the best defensive players the NBA has ever seen. He was the catalyst for the small-ball movement with his ability to defend every position on the court and handle the ball in transition as a playmaker. 

In 2012, taking Beal may have been the easy choice for the Wizards, but this time? Not so much. 

We still ended up putting Beal down as the Wizards' choice because of his fit next to John Wall and how much more valuable a scorer is to a defensive anchor in today's NBA.

Sure, Green would've helped the Wizards become one of the best defensive teams in the league and led a potent transition attack next to John Wall, but would that really have resulted in more playoff success for Washington?

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

With Wall playing as the primary distributor in most offensive sets, the Wizards would've had trouble finding an optimal role for Green on that end unless he developed into a better three-point shooter. Beal is the perfect running-mate for a pass-first player like Wall. He can create his own shot, run off screens, score on cuts and command enough attention from opposing defenses where it creates more driving lanes for Wall. Green just doesn't give you that. 

While Beal holds his own as a defender, Green changed the game with his versatility. Take Green off the Warriors, and they probably don't win a single title unless Kevin Durant makes the same free-agent decision he did in 2016. But you could say the same about Stephen Curry, and at least with Curry the Warriors would still have an evolutionary offensive system. 

Players like Green are essential to winning championships, though you still need to secure scorers like Beal and Curry first if you're going to have any shot at success in the postseason.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: