Cover your ears, Toronto Raptors fans, there’s a new Masai Ujiri rumour making the rounds.
The Raptors president “would be intrigued by the challenge” of fixing the New York Knicks, according to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. Beck’s sources claim Ujiri is interested in building something from scratch, and elevating his Giants of Africa philanthropic organization by moving to the bright lights of New York.
Knicks owner James Dolan is reportedly a huge fan of Ujiri’s work and is unfazed by the amount of money it would take to land him. Beck reports “influential voices in the NBA” have advised Ujiri not to take the job, but the offer might be too tempting to pass up.
Ujiri joined the Raptors as general manager in 2013 and has overseen the most successful period in team history, culminating with the 2019 title. He’s turned a middling franchise into a perennial playoff squad now equipped with a championship pedigree.
The Knicks, meanwhile, have not qualified for the playoffs in six seasons and have devolved into the laughing stock of the league. They infamously struck out in free agency last summer and fired head coach David Fizdale Friday after a disastrous 4-18 start to the 2019-20 season. Adding one of the NBA’s most respected executives with a lengthy track record of success would be a huge step in bringing much-needed stability to the Big Apple, should Dolan give him the necessary autonomy to steer the ship.
Ujiri has publicly stated his desire to stay north of the border, but Beck reports the 49-year-old rejected a lucrative contract extension last summer. His current deal is believed to run through 2021.
It’s still a lot of rumours and speculation, but the Raptors will certainly be hoping the smoke doesn’t lead to fire.
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