Knicks Reportedly “Obsessed” With Masai Ujiri

The Knicks are “obsessed” and “enamored” with Raptors executive Masai Ujiri as the next man to run the franchise, sources tell Ian Begley of A front office shakeup is expected in the wake of yesterday’s firing of head coach David Fizdale, especially considering the poor track record of team president Steve Mills.

Begley speculates it would take “significant money and full autonomy” to land Ujiri, who is already in a comfortable spot after building a championship team. Even if the Knicks are willing to grant that, Ujiri may not want to work for a controversial figure like James Dolan, and he is signed with Toronto until 2021, a contract he said in October that he plans to honor.

Echoing a report we shared last week, Begley states that the Knicks believe Ujiri could be drawn to New York City to provide a larger platform for his charitable work with the Giants of Africa Foundation. However, there was similar speculation about Washington, D.C., a few months ago when the Wizards were restructuring their front office, and Ujiri opted to stay in Toronto.

There’s more Knicks news to pass along:

  • Despite a 4-18 start and six straight losing seasons, the Knicks’ front office job is still viewed as appealing around the league, Begley adds in the same story. The team has drafted well under general manager Scott Perry and has held on to its first-round picks. The Knicks also retained cap flexibility by signing seven players to short-term contracts this summer after failing to land their top targets in free agency.
  • A few players got to say goodbye to Fizdale before he left the team, Taj Gibson tells Begley (Twitter link). Gibson said Fizdale was emotional during the departure, adding, “Guys loved him.”
  • Mark Jackson, a former Knicks guard and ex-head coach of the Warriors, is a 5-1 favorite to be the next head coach, relays Adam Zagoria for Forbes. The oddsmakers at have Kenny Smith second at 6-1 and Italian coach Ettore Messina at 7-1. Next in line are three college coaches, Michigan’s Juwan Howard, Vanderbilt’s Jerry Stackhouse and Villanova’s Jay Wright.
  • Interim coach Mike Miller thanked Fizdale and the Knicks organization during today’s pre-game press conference (video link from Vorkunov). Neither Mills nor Perry has addressed the media since the firing became official, and nobody from management has commented apart from an unattributed statement that was released Friday.
  • Former NBA player Keith Bogans has been named to Miller’s staff, the Knicks announced on Twitter.
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31 thoughts on “Knicks Reportedly “Obsessed” With Masai Ujiri

  1. Rocket32

    Why would Ujiri ever leave Toronto….for the Knicks? I doubt a larger platform for his charitable work is even close to enough to convince him to join a dumpster fire like the Knicks. The chances of them getting him are about as high as they were of landing KD.

        • emac22

          The 30 mil bonus Dolan will give him on top of his salary.

          Are you pretending Dolan doesn’t have the money to make this happen? Thank would be funny.

          • coldbeer

            Toronto is a luxury tax team now, don’t doubt ownership’s pockets.

          • Decius

            Are you pretending that anybody wants to work for Dolan? No way he is leaving Toronto for the Knicks. And this is coming from a Knicks fan.

      • Thuggababyy

        I doubt he’s gonna leave for the money. I’m sure the raptors would be able to match whatever the knicks want to give him anyways

        • emac22

          It doesn’t matter if they can or not. Both could pay whatever they want.

          The key is that his value to the Knicks is way higher than anything Toronto could justify.

        • jump shot

          He’s the man but I doubt the Raptors are gonna want to keep giving him a huge raise EVERY time a Pres./GM job comes open or looks like its about to. At some point the say, “We love you but do what you gotta do!” Lol

  2. Otogar

    Working for Dolan must be a nightmare. I’m sure Ujiri knows better than that.

  3. aircarter777

    Agreed, the Knicks are a joke and its a team no one wants to be involved with. Atleast anyone good!!

  4. eyesaiah

    who’s in charge of these knicks headlines recently? posting the same two stories every other day

    • aircarter777

      The Knicks have no relevancy anymore. No need to really keep it current.

    • Luke Adams

      This is the first time a report has explicitly suggested the Knicks are “obsessed” with Ujiri, though I suppose you could have inferred it from the constant leaks about their interest in him.

  5. steelerbravenation

    Boomer & Gio in the morning play a clip of him saying he hates the Knicks so I doubt he comes to the Garden.

  6. x%sure

    The Knicks have drafted passable at best under Perry. Jackson drafted Porzingus; since, N’tina & Knox are not better than players that followed. Barrett was a consensus #3 in a draft with a top 3 then uncertainty after umtil the mid-1st. Robinson & Dotson are good backups so far, what you want from r2. Should have done better.

    As to the story’s main point, though, the Knicks do offer a low committed cap for the next managers to work with.

      • x%sure

        Robinson is not starting for the worst team… too much fouling. He is another guy whose stats for blocks and fouls move in alignment. But, is he as effective if he tones it down– can he even? Geat potential though, blessed in his shoulders. Will take time.

  7. padam

    Perry has failed in the past before coming to the Knicks, and I don’t see him doing well with them, either. Signing a cadre of PFs, drafting Knox, and making that KP deal – I’d say his tenure with the Knicks has been a failure. Time to clean house.

    As for Ujiri coming to NY – not sure that would/will happen, either. As attractive as the platform is, and managing the Mecca of basketball, I can’t see him willing to work Dolan.

  8. Eric Lord

    Ujiri would never really have full autonomy over the Knicks as long as James Dolan owns the team. He will always meddle. He’s better off where he is

    • kahnkobra

      he meddled with Walsh but didn’t with Jackson and hasn’t with Mills/Perry

  9. phillyballers

    The Knicks job is the best job in the league. Prove me wrong. You will make 15-20 M per year. (3 or 4 yr deal, 3 to 6M per season, get fired after 1 yr maybe 1.25 years). And then you can go be an analyst for 3 years making 6 figures, basically walking around money.

    • x%sure

      Lol a true-enough NBA HC observation.

      Writer Begley indicated how Fixdale’s firing may have been a comment on Mills… interesting, and possibly an insider reveal, but I was criticizing Begley for calling Perry’s talent “a fact”.

  10. Dolan’s obsessions usually don’t end well, but getting Ujiri isn’t a pipedream. The biggest roadblocks would be his current contract and his non-contractual (personal) ties to the city of Toronto. Autonomy won’t be an issue. Money won’t be a deciding factor.

      • Does it allow him to go to a new team without draft pick compensation ? If so, it’s there for a reason (not the team’s reason, his).

  11. Theone23

    Hillarious that the Knicks think everyone wants to come to NYC. They don’t. Masai coming to lead the Knicks has about the same chance of happening as Jerry Sandusky winning the Nobel peace prize for his work with children.

  12. If Ujiri makes it a condition to signing on as president that Dolan must sell the team within six months, Ujiri will be hero and saviour in NYC before he spends a single day in his office there. He could do nothing else for the franchise and still be the most accomplished executive of the century in NYC.

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