They agreed that night to a multiyear deal for $1.2 million a season, sources said. But it was a handshake deal intended to be signed later, as Ujiri still had a year left on his contract.
As anyone who has negotiated with the Kroenke family knows, they take contractual obligations seriously. Finish one contract, then work on the next. Even former Avalanche GM Pierre Lacroix had to wait on an extension, this after his team won the Stanley Cup. Throughout the 2012-13 season, Kroenke steadfastly believed he had a deal with Ujiri. But, Ujiri got antsy as the season wore on and there was no pen-to-paper agreement.
Meanwhile, Toronto loomed on the horizon. Kroenke would say in hindsight he was always wary of the Raptors, the team Ujiri worked for prior to Denver.
During a trip to Toronto in a previous season, Kroenke saw first-hand how much Ujiri enjoyed the eclectic and electric big city.
And Ujiri remained close with numerous team executives there with whom he had worked.
And so, when Toronto called to interview Ujiri in May, Kroenke was stuck. He believed his handshake agreement with Ujiri was still sturdy, but soon Kroenke realized he might lose the executive of the year.
Many point to the five-year, $15 million contract Ujiri got as the main reason he left. But Kroenke revealed Friday at a news conference that Ujiri told him not to try to match it.
Why? Kroenke believes that even if he matched Toronto's offer, Ujiri still would have left to go "home," a word Masai used in his introductory news conference with the Raptors, a word that "made it clear" to Kroenke that Ujiri preferred Toronto to Denver. (Ujiri, in Italy for draft scouting, did not respond to messages when asked about this).
Read more: Josh Kroenke in sole control of team vision as Nuggets president - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci...#ixzz2Vj2vD2bx
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