10:42pm: The Knicks have since been in touch with Griffin and the ex-Cavs general manager will be among New York’s initial interviews, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets.
11:01am: Given how his first stint as the Knicks’ general manager went, Isiah Thomas would seem to be an extremely unlikely candidate to replace Phil Jackson for the team’s head front office job this offseason. Marc Berman of The New York Post confirmed as much on Wednesday, writing that Thomas wasn’t being considered.
However, at least one person close to the franchise isn’t so sure Thomas is entirely out of the running, according to Frank Isola of The New York Daily News, who says his source described the former Knicks GM as “a dark horse candidate” to fill the current opening (Twitter link). While that revelation may inspire some panic among Knicks fans, it’s worth noting that the “dark horse” descriptor suggests Thomas probably isn’t at the top of James Dolan‘s wish list.
Here’s more on the Knicks’ search for a new president of basketball operations:
- The Knicks’ interest in Raptors president Masai Ujiri is real, but Ujiri is entering the second year of a five-year, $32MM contract in Toronto, says Sam Amick of USA Today. A source close to ownership of MLSE – the group that owns the Raptors – tells Michael Grange of Sportsnet not to even bother with the Ujiri rumors, but Grange hears from an NBA source that the Knicks will nonetheless be “coming hard” for the Raptors’ president.
- Having received a second-round pick as compensation when Orlando hired away GM Jeff Weltman, the Raptors would certainly ask for even more compensation if the Knicks wanted to hire Ujiri, and New York would be very unlikely to consider that, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.
- A league source informed ESPN’s Dave McMenamin that Jerry West intended to reach out to Tim Leiweke, who is running the Knicks’ search, to endorse David Griffin as a candidate for New York’s opening. According to ESPN’s report, Griffin has “long coveted” an opportunity like the Knicks’ job. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Knicks hadn’t formally reached out to Griffin or his agent, but had begun doing background research on him, per ESPN.
- Thunder president of basketball operations Sam Presti has been internally discussed by the Knicks as a possible target, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Like Ujiri, Presti is under contract with another NBA team and that club would likely require compensation, though the exact terms of his deal aren’t known.