The Wizards are not pursuing Raptors president Masai Ujiri as their new president of basketball operations, according to the Washington Post.
Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis told the Post in a statement he felt the need to comment on the rumors surrounding Ujiri, who has earned praise for building the roster that won the NBA Finals last week. Published reports indicated that the Wizards were prepared to not only offer Ujiri a $10 million annual salary, but also part ownership in Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which operates the Wizards, Capitals and several other sports and business ventures.
“We have not commented on the many rumors surrounding potential candidates during this process, but I wanted to make an exception in this case out of respect to the Raptors organization as they celebrate their well-deserved championship,” Leonsis said in the statement. “Any reports that we have interest in Masai Ujiri as a candidate are simply not true, and we have never planned in any way to ask for permission to speak to him during our process.”
Leonsis told the Post he is comfortable letting interim president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard continue in that role through Thursday’s NBA Draft and the start of free agency June 30.
“I am very happy with the work and preparation Tommy Sheppard, Coach [Scott] Brooks and our staff have done and I’m confident we’ll execute both the draft and free agency in an expert manner,” Leonsis said. “Having that confidence has given me the freedom to continue the conversations I’ve been having on how to build a great organization and, as a result, I don’t expect to make any decisions before the start of free agency.”
The Wizards fired Ernie Grunfeld from his post as president of basketball operations in early April.