The Toronto Raptors are finalizing an agreement with former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Ed Stefanski to take over as the franchise’s executive vice president of basketball operations, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Stefanski, who was fired as the 76ers’ GM a week ago, will report to Raptors president-GM Bryan Colangelo, who will still have final say on basketball matters. Stefanski will ultimately replace Masai Ujiri, who left Toronto to become the Denver Nuggets GM last year.
Colangelo conducted a lengthy search and ultimately targeted Stefanski in recent weeks for the job. Former New Orleans Hornets GM Jeff Bower was the runner-up. San Antonio Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey had been a strong candidate, too.
By adding Stefanski and possibly another assistant GM and scouts, the Raptors are restructuring their player personnel department. After missing the playoffs for three straight seasons, Colangelo and new coach Dwane Casey are working with two-year contracts. The Raptors picked one of the world’s top young centers, Jonas Valanciunas(notes), with the fourth pick in the June NBA draft, and he’ll play one season overseas before he’s expected to join Toronto for the 2012-13 season.
Stefanski had been replaced as the 76ers’ top decision maker a year ago by Rod Thorn, and the franchise’s new ownership ushered him out a week ago. Stefanski had the GM title in Philadelphia and New Jersey. With both teams, he was credited with the drafting of several good players, including Richard Jefferson(notes) and Jrue Holiday(notes).