This offseason, the Toronto Raptors were able to bring re-sign Masai Ujiri, the executive who helped spearhead the masterful 2019 championship run, in tandem with Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry, and a period of success unlike anything the franchise had seen up until that point.
Ujiri, who had been serving as the president of basketball operations, was also given the term of vice-chairman, showing that MLSE ownership was not only committed to making sure that Ujiri was brought back, but also ensuring that he was properly rewarded and compensated for all that he has done for this franchise.
Michael Grange of Sportsnet is reporting that Ujiri’s new contract extension, the length of which remains unknown, will pay him $15 million per year, making him one of the most highly compensated executives in the game.
No matter how good a team may be on the court, dysfunction at the top will almost always trickle down to the lowest ranks of the organizational ladder. Getting Ujiri back in a place of prominence should have been the top priority this offseason, and the organization managed to check that box.
The Toronto Raptors are giving Masai Ujiri a blank check.
Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster will likely be working in tandem to make sure that the Raptors can reboot and get back to contending for championships, but the buck will likely stop with Ujiri, who has proven time and time again that his scouting eye and aggressiveness in making trades can translate into a higher number in the wins column.
This is a substantial pay raise from his first few years in Toronto, as it was a five-year, $15 million deal that helped him decide to leave the Denver Nuggets and join Toronto. With a ring and promotion secured, Ujiri has his sights set on getting back to the Finals and being able to celebrate once again.
While Ujiri is not on a path to ownership at the moment, there are some ‘equity-like’ elements, including earning bonuses based on revenues or some additional benefits based on the valuation of the team, in this new arrangement.
Not only will Ujiri help pick players and entice free agents in this role, but he has been given a chance to create even more wealth and opportunity for his family and those close to him. This could be a trendsetter, as franchise icons both inside and outside of the front office can embark upon an easier path to ownership and, therefore, generational wealth.
Ujiri is blazing a trail with this deal, as it allows him to both maintain a role as a top personnel decision-maker, all while getting a seat at the table with regard to overarching decisions about this franchise.
Welcome back, Masai!