Knicks Fire Team President Steve Mills

GM Scott Perry Takes Over In Interim

Ryan Chatelain
February 04, 2020 - 2:07 pm

The Knicks fired team president Steve Mills on Tuesday, just before he could have potentially altered the course of the franchise's future by making -- or not making -- deals at the trade deadline.

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General manager Scott Perry will run the Knicks' front office on an interim basis, and the team will immediately begin to search for a new president, the Knicks said.

Mills, who has held a number of roles at Madison Square Garden since 1999, is expected to be nominated to the board of MSG's standalone sports company.

"Steve and I have come to the decision that it would be best for him to leave his role as president of the New York Knicks," owner James Dolan said in a statement. "We thank Steve for his many years of service to our organization and look forward to continuing our relationship with him as part of our board."

Said Mills: "It has been a great honor to represent the Knicks. I will always be grateful to Jim for giving me the chance to represent this franchise and I'm disappointed we were unable to achieve success for New York. I would like to thank the staff and the players for their hard work during my tenure. I will always be a Knicks fan."

According to multiple reports, Dolan has already interviewed at least one candidate to replace Mills. Masai Ujiri, the president who led the Toronto Raptors to an NBA title last season, is at the top of the Knicks' wish list, reports said. But Ujiri is under contract through the 2020-21 season and the Knicks would have to give up draft compensation to hire him.

SNY's Ian Begley reported that Austin Brown, a top agent with CAA, is being considered for the Knicks job.

Mills was promoted from general manager to president of basketball operations after the Knicks parted ways with Phil Jackson in the summer of 2017. 

But not much went right with Mills running the team. He traded All-Star big man Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks last January, in part to free up the salary cap space needed to sign two max-level free agents. However, none of the available superstars -- Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or Kawhi Leonard -- came, and the Knicks settled instead for a free agency class highlighted by Julius Randle and Marcus Morris. 

Knicks president Steve Mills

Mills also hired David Fizdale in May 2018 and then fired the coach 22 games into his second season after the team Mills assembled got off to a 4-18 start.

Under Mills, the Knicks went 29-53 in 2017-18, and 17-65 last season. The team is currently 15-36, the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference.

The New York Post's Marc Berman reported Tuesday that Mills and Perry were not seeing eye to eye on certain issues. As Thursday's trade deadline approaches, the Knicks have reportedly expressed interest in signing Morris to a contract extension rather than dealing the impending free agent for draft picks. The team also has expressed interest in acquiring high-priced, All-Star point guard D'Angelo Russell from the Golden State Warriors, although it's not clear if either of those situations were at the heart of any disagreement between Mills and Perry.