New York reluctant to shell out draft compensation to Raptors to get Masai Ujiri
The New York Knicks potential pursuit of Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is more complicated than it seems. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks are reluctant to give the Raptors draft compensation in return for Ujiri.
This comes on the heels of the firing of president Steve Mills, who was relieved of his duties earlier on Tuesday, leaving general manager Scott Perry in charge of the front office.
Ujiri has long been atop owner James Dolan’s list of preferred candidates to run the front office, but his contract runs until 2020-21, which would force the Knicks to ask for permission to interview him this summer before that conversation can be entertained.
The Raptors, if they allow for Ujiri to be interviewed by the Knicks, would surely want some sort of compensation for taking their championship-winning front office boss.
New York actually acquired Perry, a former vice president of the Sacramento Kings in a similar way.
Back in 2018, the Knicks were slated to get the worst two of the Orlando Magic’s picks along with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ and Houston Rockets’ second-rounders in 2019. The Kings received the best of those two second-round picks in compensation for taking Perry.
This isn’t the first time Dolan has looked to interview candidates that are already employed by an NBA team, but this hellbent streak of wanting to keep draft picks could certainly put him out of the conversation for a well-respected brass star like Ujiri.
Dolan has reportedly already had conversations with one possible candidate, per Wojnarowski — making the process for a successor move much faster than the time needed to woo Ujiri into becoming Mills’ successor.