The New York Knicks have been rumored to covet Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri should they relieve team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry of their duties, per SNY.tv's Ian Begley.
In light of that report, Michael Grange of Sportsnet revealed that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Raptors, has not offered Ujiri a contract extension after his current deal expires in 2021.
Ujiri, 49, ran the Denver Nuggets from 2010-2013 before joining the Raps. Per Grange, Ujiri's Denver and Toronto teams have averaged 53 wins per year and made the playoffs each season, including the Raptors' 2019 NBA title.
Fixing the Knicks would be Ujiri's toughest task yet. New York is last in the NBA standings and well on its way to a seventh straight losing season. The Knicks have made the playoffs only four times since the 2001-02 season and had a winning record only three times during that span.
They haven't had much postseason success in recent years, either. The Knicks have won only one playoff series since the turn of the century.
New York has a core player to build around in RJ Barrett, the third overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. But the rest of the roster features a host of mismatched pieces, namely an overabundance of power forwards and point guards.
Rebuilding the Knicks would take a lot of work, but Ujiri may be up for the challenge, per Bleacher Report's Howard Beck.
"Sources also say Ujiri would be intrigued by the challenge of fixing the Knicks, the chance to build something from scratch and, not insignificantly, by the opportunity to elevate his Giants of Africa philanthropy by working in the New York market.
"Influential voices in the NBA have strongly advised Ujiri not to take the job, if it's ever offered, sources say. But those same sources say Ujiri might do it anyway, if the money is right, if he's granted the necessary autonomy and if Dolan funds Giants of Africa as generously as the Raptors ownership group has.
Giants of Africa's stated mission is to "use basketball as a means to educate and enrich the lives of African youth."
Beck also reported that Ujiri's contract has an "out clause under certain circumstances" and that he did turn down an extension last summer.
We'll see whether a Ujiri-Knicks deal comes to fruition, but for now, the 2013 NBA Executive of the Year may be on pace to win another one of those awards after watching his Raptors jump out to a 16-7 record this season sans 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
Ian Begley from SNY joins “The Full 48 with Howard Beck” to discuss David Fizdale and the New York Knicks!