Rumor: Wizards planning to pursue Raptors president Masai Ujiri

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The Wizards pursued Raptors president Masai Ujiri, denied pursuing Ujiri then put Tommy Sheppard in charge of their front office.

Two years later…

Despite an emphasis on short-term moves, Sheppard hasn’t gotten Washington winning and saw his credibility damaged. He convinced Bradley Beal to sign a contract extension, which is a pretty big deal. But it’s still unclear where the Wizards go from here other than having Beal on the roster (which, again, is a pretty big deal).

Ujiri, despite a reported plan to, seemingly* hasn’t signed a contract extension with Toronto.

*I say “seemingly,” because sometimes those deals don’t get announced publicly. But Raptors ownership is so proud to employee Ujiri, an extension would probably get broadcast as loudly as possible. Secret extensions are more of a Wizards thing.

What’s next for Washington and Ujiri?

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report:

word among NBA circles suggests the Wizards are planning another aggressive pursuit at landing Toronto Raptors chief executive Masai Ujiri this summer to pilot their basketball operations.

The Wizards would be foolish not to pursue Ujiri if they think they have a chance of getting him. He’s one of the NBA’s top executives.

Would he actually go to Washington, though?

Ujiri appears in these rumors (usually with the Knicks) far more often than he actually changes jobs. Unlike New York, the Wizards aren’t a marquee NBA franchise. But Washington offers proximity to political power, which could advance Ujiri’s philanthropy in Africa.

Until Ujiri signs a contract beyond this season with the Raptors, I wouldn’t rule it out. But smoke doesn’t always mean fire.