Edward Rogers tried to block the new contract the Toronto Raptors offered to Masai Ujiri, expressing a belief that he was not worth the size of the deal.

Rogers is the former chairman of Rogers Communications and is a board member of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. Rogers Communications owns a 37.5 percent stake of MLSE. Rival telecom BCE Inc. owns another 37.5 per cent and Larry Tanenbaum’s Kilmer Group controls the balance.

One NBA team’s offer included a three-percent ownership stake along with a salary that eclipsed the $15 million per year deal he ultimately struck with MLSE. Rogers was the holdout after Bell and Tanenbaum agreed to the Ujiri offer. Ujiri also received interest from English Premier League teams. 

Rogers said Sunday that he has the “utmost respect for Masai Ujiri,” citing his leadership, track record in scouting and building a roster, and his global citizenship. 

“Above all, I respect the man,” Rogers said. “Masai built an NBA Champion and I have every confidence in him and his team to do so again.”

Following a July meeting, Rogers called Ujiri and told him he wasn't worth the money he was being paid. The call left Ujiri feeling so angry and disrespected that he considered taking a year off as president of the Raptors. Others in the MLSE ranks went into damage control and reassured him he'd be protected from Rogers.