I've gone on record as saying the most disappointed and disheartened I was as a Nuggets fan was in the summer of 1996 when Bernie Bickerstaff took a giant ax to the Nuggets organization and doomed the franchise for years to come. I have to say that, right now with Masai Ujiri potentially walking out the Pepsi Center door and into the Great White North of Canada, I am nearly as disappointed as I was then.
Masai Ujiri, he of the Executive of the Year award for 2013. He of the complete reshaping of the Nuggets roster from the hellish Carmelo Anthony situation in 2010-11. He of the Andre Iguodala trade and the Kenneth Faried draft. This, this man who put together the roster for a 57 win team this last season. Appears to be heading out of Denver. This will be the ultimate black mark in the history of Kroenke Sports Enterprises ownership of the team if it comes true.
It appears to be in Masai Ujiri's hands right now
With a lucrative offer to leave Denver and run the Raptors, league source says decision is now in Masai Ujiri's hands.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) May 25, 2013
How did it come to this? One can surmise that KSE's policy of making their executives "play out" the entirety of their contracts contributed to this. On a radio interview with Drew Goodman and Scott Hastings on Friday, Josh Kroenke said that he had a "handshake agreement" on a contract earlier this season. Well, as we all know a handshake agreement is not an actual contract. That's like agreeing to pay people Tuesday for a hamburger today! That expression, in itself, means nothing if action isn't followed. For that, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of none other than Papa Enos Stanley Kroenke. That's just how Stan does business.
The Nuggets COULD have talked about an extension and worked on an agreeable contract all the way back to last offseason when the Philadelphia 76ers came calling. The Nuggets COULD have worked out an extension while the Nuggets were on their way to winning 57 games this season. Yet, they chose to wait. They always choose to wait. Meanwhile, their adherence to that particular form of business when dealing with executives can come back to bite them in the butt if Masai takes his talents to Toronto. Therein lies the rub.
When Josh Kroenke called in to the Drew and Scott show, he sounded surprised that the Nuggets were taking heat from the fans in this regard. While confidence in one's self is great when running a team, you got the distinct impression from listening to his interview that Josh believes he can do an equivalent job to Ujiri. While I like Josh personally, I believe it's better to bet on a sure, proven thing ... even IF it's done in tandem than it is to swing in the breeze and try to go it alone. It would be a foolish decision for the Nuggets to go down this path.
From the reporting of Adrian Wojnarowski, we hear that the Nuggets are substantially behind with a competitive offer to pay for Masai Ujiri. This is a shame. You get the feeling that if the Nuggets were even in the same ballpark that the advantage in this pursuit would go to the Nuggets. Yet, it seems that the Nuggets tradition of not paying their executives competitively has come back to bite them again.
This should be concerning to all. If Masai leaves does that mean Andre Iguodala leaves? What does the future hold for the rest of the roster? Do they tank for the 2014 draft? We have actually no clue what would happen if Masai is allowed to walk out the door. Yet, we DO know that uncertainty is much MUCH worse than going with the proven scenario.
The Nuggets are going down a very treacherous path right now, and that is doubly disappointing.
Sign the petition to keep Masai Ujiri in Denver right HERE
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78