The New York Knicks are in the market for a President of Basketball Operations. According to reports, Masai Ujiri is at the top of the list.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Dolan is wasting no time searching for Mills’s replacement and Toronto Raptors’ current President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri is at the top of his list.
Knicks owner Jim Dolan is targeting Toronto president Masai Ujiri to ultimately oversee New York’s operations, league sources tell ESPN. He is under contract through 2020-2021 in Toronto.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2020
Of course, this isn’t groundbreaking news. Ujiri has been rumored as a potential target for the Knicks since the ousting of former head coach David Fizdale. Ujiri is widely respected as one of the best front-office executives in the league, and his continued success with the Raptors, despite losing Kawhi Leonard, has only increased his popularity.
The only drawback is that Ujiri is under contract through 2021, meaning that the Knicks would have to make a significant offer, including future draft-picks to entice the Raptors to part with their top decision-maker.
However, the juice may be worth the squeeze as Ujiri has been viewed as an executive who tends to win trades, especially when the Knicks are involved.
Fans will remember the Carmelo Anthony deal when Ujiri was in Denver, and the deal that brought Andrea Bargnani from Toronto in exchange for Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, a 2016 first-round pick and two future second-round picks. Ujiri appeared to be a winner in both instances.
In the end, Ujiri’s track record is certainly impressive, but at what cost? The Knicks are still in the talent acquisition stage and whether it’s through the draft or trades, rebuilding teams need assets to make it happen. Sending draft picks to Toronto could actually make Ujiri’s job more difficult.
On the surface, it’s a good day for Knicks fans, but ultimately, the work has just begun.