The Knicks stay the Knicks.
The NBA’s most dysfunctional franchise fired their President of Basketball Operations, Steve Mills, on Tuesday, about 48 hours before what is one of the three most important days in an NBA GM’s calendar: trade deadline day. (Free agency opening and draft day being the other two.)
New York is parting ways with President Steve Mills, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2020
Good teams don’t do this sort of thing, but, again... the Knicks stay the Knicks.
One would imagine that, if you were going to fire your top exec right before the trade deadline, you must have a good reason (like some sort of scandal or something that can’t be avoided), or, you have a better option waiting in the wings.
Like, say, Masai Ujiri, one of the best executives (if not the best) in the NBA.
The Knicks and their owner James Dolan have long coveted Ujiri so I won’t lie, when the news of Steve Mills’ dismissal came across Twitter, I immediately thought: oh no.
Then, of course, I remembered that it’s the Knicks, and if anyone was going to fire their GM right before the trade deadline without a backup plan, it’s the Knicks.
Naturally, Woj and Stein and co. came along to fan the flames immediately thereafter.
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
There have been strong rumblings since December that the Knicks believe they have a real shot to lure Masai Ujiri away from Toronto to take over. Of course, many also believed the Knicks knew they were getting Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving when they traded away Kristaps Porzingis— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 4, 2020
And collectively, Raptors Twitter went...
So what do we make of all this? Do the Knicks really, truly have a shot at Masai Ujiri? Would Masai leave Toronto for the Knicks? Would Masai leave Toronto, period?
Would MLSE even allow the Knicks to talk to Ujiri, who is under contract for one more year, and if they did, what sort of compensation would they demand from the Knicks should Masai express a desire to go there.... And would the Knicks be willing to pay?
How Concerned Should we be about Masai Ujiri Leaving?
With all of these questions swirling around, I now unveil my official Masai Ujiri Concern-o-Meter!
The Concern-o-Meter currently stands at a 3.0 out of 10 (where 1 is the least concerned, and 10 is highly concerned).
(If this story persists for a few days, then I’ll draw up a fancy graphic and everything!)
Current Concern-o-Meter Rating: 3.0
Here’s why it’s at 3.0:
- The timing of the Knicks announcement and the speed of those Woj and Stein tweets caused actual doubt for the first time ever
- The tweets that soon followed, about the Knicks hiring an agent a la the Lakers, eased my fears
- I still just can’t really see Masai leaving a great situation for a terrible one...
- ... especially if the Knicks had to give up assets to get him there, making his job that much harder.
What do you think? How concerned are you about Masai’s tenure in Toronto right now?