Whether Masai Ujiri ends up returning to the Raptors or not, we can presume this much from the way this pursuit has shaken out — he didn’t really want the job. Not really.

Ujiri earned $500,000 (U.S.) to run the Denver Nuggets last year. The Raptors have offered him somewhere in the region of $2.5 million to do the same thing here.

Denver has reportedly countered with a bump up to something south of a million bucks. Regardless of the sums involved, that’s a lowball. That’s a get-up-and-walk-out-without-countering number. That didn’t happen.

The 42-year-old Ujiri knows Toronto. He got his first big break here, rising from scout to assistant GM with the Raptors. He knows the organization top to bottom. He presumably knows the city well enough to understand that it is to Denver what Paris, France, is to Paris, Ontario.

While anyone else mulling the job should be rightly concerned about the hovering presence of the former GM and current president, Bryan Colangelo has been described by some as Ujiri’s “best friend.” Judged cynically, the reason they retained Colangelo was in order to use him as a lure to land his pal.

This sort of courtship is also why Tim Leiweke was brought in to run MLSE — in order to lay a thinning trail of L.A. stardust that leads to the fat paycheque. This chaotic, over-long and, thus far, fruitless pursuit of a guy who’s toiling for nickels in Colorado is seriously chipping away at Leiweke’s Master of the Universe credentials.

His offer isn’t the problem. The offer is beyond solid.

They’ve dangled sole control of all personnel decisions and the security of a multi-year contract. The Raptors have done everything short of cutting a big, gold key inscribed “To The Castle” and hanging it round his neck.

But Ujiri wants to think about it.

That’s the Raptors problem. When an opportunity pops up to move to Toronto — no matter how good — everybody everywhere in the NBA wants to think about it.

Put aside the white noise about “class” organizations and rings you’re never going to win in Denver, Toronto or two-thirds of the rest of the NBA. Just ask yourself this — if someone offered you a 500 per cent raise, how long would you need to turn it over in your mind?

You’d need the three seconds it’d take to bite open the tip of your index finger and sign the contract in your own blood, just in case the pen didn’t work.

But Ujiri needs to think. About doing the same job in a better city for a lot more money.

That’s the frightening part. If Ujiri is willing to forego years of earning power in order to stay in Denver, he must see the Toronto job as a career killer. If one of the brightest young minds in the NBA takes an objective look at the Raptors and says to himself, “That can’t be fixed,” we’ve got much bigger problems than nameplates on the boss’s door.