Wizards owner: Reports that we have interest in Masai Ujiri are not true

NBA-Raptors-Ujiri-speaks-during-Finals-media-day

Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri speaks to media during an availability in the lead up to tomorrow's NBA Final game 1 against the Golden State Warriors, in Toronto on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (Frank Gunn/CP)

It appears the Washington Wizards are not on the cusp of poaching Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri from Toronto after all.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis denied the report that came out shortly after the Raptors won their first-ever NBA championship.

“We have not commented on the many rumors surrounding potential candidates during this process, but I wanted to make an exception in this case out of respect to the Raptors organization as they celebrate their well-deserved championship,” Leonsis said in a statement procured by The Post. “Any reports that we have interest in Masai Ujiri as a candidate are simply not true, and we have never planned in any way to ask for permission to speak to him during our process.”

The Wizards have been without a president of basketball operations since they fired longtime executive Ernie Grunfeld in April.

Tommy Sheppard took over the role in an interim basis and in that same statement made to The Post it was announced he will stay in that role at least through this Thursday’s NBA Draft and the start of NBA free agency, which begins on June 30 at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Ujiri has been linked to a potential move to Washington for some time, with some wondering if his family’s connections to the area as well as the ambition he’s shown with his Giants of Africa and Basketball Without Borders programs might benefit from a move to D.C.

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