Via this press release, the Nuggets made official their hiring of former Toronto Raptors scout Masai Ujiri, 39, as their Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. Ujiri, who previously worked in Denver from 2003 to 2007, became the frontrunner for the Nuggets’ vacant GM position when former Phoenix Suns executive David Griffin turned it down.
Though the release doesn’t mention it, Ujiri is likely to have some GM power. However, the Nuggets have an unusual front-office setup, with team adviser Bret Bearup and owner Josh Kroenke also having a say in personnel decisions. Nate Timmons of Denver Stiffs wonders if that factor worked against the Nuggets in their efforts to land Griffin:
The issue of Griffin not accepting Denver’s offer is said to be that of money, but there also may have been some desired power that Griffin wanted … all speculation on my part. Is Ujiri more willing to work alongside Josh Kroenke and Bearup with personnel decisions?
As I wrote earlier in this StoryStream, Ujiri will immediately have to address the futures of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, who are embattled in their own different ways.