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Knicks Rumors: Raptors President Masai Ujiri Viewed as 'The Chosen One'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 10: President Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors looks on during the game between the Chicago Bulls and the Charlotte Hornets during the 2019 Summer League at the Cox Pavilion on July 10, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri is reportedly viewed by the NBA as "the chosen one" who can finally turn around the New York Knicks.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Tuesday the NBA, which in the past has helped "mediate unorthodox transactions," sees value in Ujiri taking over the Knicks.

"They look at him as the chosen one," an executive told Berman.

New York is in a period of transition after failing to strike gold from the star-studded 2019 free-agent class. The front office couldn't land any of the top players and watched the rival Brooklyn Nets acquire Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, a duo long linked to the Knicks.

They've proceeded to post a 6-21 record so far this season, tied for the second-worst mark in the NBA, and head coach David Fizdale was fired in early December as a result.

Bleacher Report's Howard Beck reported after Fizdale's dismissal that sources believed it was "possible" New York could lure Ujiri away from Toronto, noting he's "intrigued by the challenge of fixing the Knicks" and his Giants of Africa efforts could benefit from working in NYC.

"Influential voices in the NBA have strongly advised Ujiri not to take the job, if it's ever offered, sources say," Beck wrote. "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."

A source told Berman having the United Nations in New York would be a "bonus" in efforts to attract the Raptors president, who was born in England and grew up in Nigeria.

The timetable for potentially making a deal to acquire Ujiri is unclear, though.

In November, Ian Begley of SNY reported Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry came away from a conversation with team owner James Dolan with the feeling their jobs are safe as long as the team "showed progress" this season.

Although New York has struggled, its .222 winning percentage is a slight uptick from last year (.207).

The big picture remains the same, however. This will be the Knicks' seventh straight season missing the playoffs, and they haven't advanced behind the second round of the postseason since 2000.

A major shakeup is necessary, and Ujiri might be the perfect choice to lead the way after helping build the Raptors roster that captured the 2019 NBA title.