Report: Raptors Employees Worried Knicks Could Poach President Masai Ujiri

Alex Greenberg
December 02, 2019 - 6:08 pm

The Knicks seem to be headed for another year of being among the worst teams in the NBA.

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It’s December, and the Knicks are tied for the second-worst record in the league. The now-rebuilding Warriors are the only team with poorer results at this point of the year.

There have been murmurings that David Fizdale could be on the hot seat, but other big changes could be coming if the Knicks continue to disappoint. According to a report from Newsday’s Steve Popper, some members of the Raptors organization are worried that the Knicks could poach team president Masai Ujiri from Toronto at the end of the season.

Ujiri has had great success with the Raptors since joining from the Nuggets back in 2013. The franchise won its first ever NBA title last season in large part because of the moves Ujiri made. The most noteworthy of those moves was the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs in July of 2018.

New York Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry speak to the media on media day at MSG Training Center.
USA Today Images

Meanwhile, the Knicks front office has been plagued by instability and bad decision making over that same period of time. Phil Jackson’s four-year tenure was a disaster, and the franchise has still yet to improve under the new regime led by general manager Scott Perry and president Steve Mills.

If Perry and Mills are replaced by Ujiri or another executive, it could be because of this past offseason. The Knicks wanted to sign a marquee free agent like Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving after they traded Kristaps Porzingis during the season, but they missed out on all the big names and instead signed experienced players who weren’t stars but could still compete on a nightly basis.

Julius Randle, one of those new additions, hasn’t lived up to expectations so far. RJ Barrett looks like a player with a bright future, but Kevin Knox, who was the first draft pick taken by Mills and Perry, hasn’t shown much growth in his first couple seasons.

The Raptors lost Leonard to the Clippers this offseason, but Toronto is still winning. Ujiri’s Raptors are 15-4 and are currently in second place in the Eastern Conference, so it's unclear if the 49-year-old would even be interested in joining a franchise like the Knicks that has dealt with so much organizational strife.