Raptors: MLSE executive tried to force Masai Ujiri out in Toronto

May 29, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
May 29, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors have been one of the most well-run organizations in the NBA, and having a force like Masai Ujiri in the front office is one of the main reasons why. Unfortunately, some greedy executives like Edward Rogers wanted to shake things up this offseason.

While Ujiri’s contract expired after last season, he not only ended up returning to the Raptors, but he did so with an agreement that made him vice-chairman, expanding his influence in the organization while keeping him involved in basketball decisions.

Despite the fact that Ujiri has turned this team into a champion and helped keep them competitive year in and year out, Rogers tried everything he could to sabotage the plan to bring him back.

According to the Toronto Star, Rogers, who is both on the MLSE board and the former chairman of Rogers Communications, tried to prevent Ujiri from returning to the Raptors in his more influential role, but his objections were overruled by MLSE head Larry Tanenbaum.

Edward Rodgers tried to separate Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors.

One of Rogers’ main objections with Masai Ujiri returning was the idea that he is was apparently too well-compensated, a belief shared by exactly zero Raptors fans.

Rogers also believes that GM Bobby Webster could run the basketball side of things without Ujiri, which also doesn’t make sense given how the pair’s collaborative effort has helped build this squad.

Rogers even went as far as to call him after a meeting and claimed that Ujiri was not worth the money he was being paid. Ujiri was so understandably irritated by this development that he considered taking a season off after being disrespected. Luckily, Ujiri calmed down and returned to the team.

One very revealing incident reported in the star described Rogers calling Ujiri “arrogant” in a meeting and claiming that he brought “bodyguards” with him. Per a source, Ujiri arrived with his long-time driver so he could work in the car and a videographer for one of his charity projects.

This makes it sound like Rogers just had an axe to grind with Ujiri for some reason we just don’t understand yet. This is a classic case of an owner or influential board member trying to muscle in on proceedings, even when things are going well.

A multi-millionaire with a net worth measured in nine digits being egomaniacal is nothing too shocking, but the fact that Rogers was willing to sabotage one of the league’s most well-run franchises and one of his biggest cash cows in order to do things his way is some shocking incompetence.

Time will tell if he is still on the board.

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