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05-19-2013, 06:54 PM
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We will know sometime on Monday what name is inside the envelope at Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment.

It seems now with all the chatter around NBA circles that Bryan Colangelo may no longer be the man running basketball operations in Toronto, but one of his former chief lieutenants, Masai Ujiri, may be next in line to try and help put the team back into the playoffs and move them further up the NBA ladder.

Ujiri is the reigning NBA Executive of the Year and has helped make the Denver Nuggets a viable contender. If he were to be hired in Toronto it would be a good fit for a number of reasons.

He has worked in Toronto and knows not only the NBA landscape but also the challenges facing the club as the only team located outside the U.S. With the exception of new CEO Tim Leiweke and a few of the new board members, he is intimately familiar with the organization. But above all else, Ujiri has become well respected around the NBA and does his job well.

If Ujiri were to come on board there would be some semblance of stability as the team has made strides and improved the last couple of seasons. The improvement has just not been fast enough to get them into the playoffs or satisfy the MLSE board to the degree they would pick up the final year of Colangelo’s contract and have him remain as general manager. It’s entirely possible that Ujiri could retain Casey with the coach’s option having been picked up at the end of the lockout-shortened season in 2012. There would be added continuity with scouting and front office personnel and the let’s-look-and-see-what-we-have period would be much shorter than that of a new general manager.

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