Is two days before the trade deadline the right time to fire your president and chief decision maker? The New York Knicks are going to find out, since they’ve fired president Steve Mills.
The New York Knicks Announce Steve Mills to Leave His Position pic.twitter.com/Bdw37DKuEM— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) February 4, 2020
Mills has been with MSG on and off since 2003, but was hired by team owner James Dolan in 2013 as both executive vice president and general manager. He was promoted to president after the Knicks parted ways with Phil Jackson in June 2017, and kept his decision making responsibilities when Steve Perry was hired as GM the following month.
It’s not known why Dolan decided Tuesday was the day to fire Mills. The organization has gone 178-365 since he was hired in 2013, and while he bears partial responsibility for that, the only person who can truly be blamed for all the Knicks’ troubles is Dolan. However, Dolan could be trying to land a major executive to take Mills place: Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors.
Knicks owner Jim Dolan is targeting Toronto president Masai Ujiri to ultimately oversee New York’s operations, league sources tell ESPN. He is under contract through 2020-2021 in Toronto.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2020
Ujiri has been successful in Toronto and has continually tormented Dolan and the Knicks in trades and signings. It’s been reported that Dolan is borderline obsessed with getting Ujiri on the Knicks, but a lack of autonomy from Dolan would be a barrier.
There are also other issues with Ujiri joining the Knicks. He still has over a season left on his contract, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Dolan is “reluctant” to give up draft picks to the Raptors to sign him before the end of his contract. Apparently those are both big issues, because Dolan may have already moved on.
Dolan has already had converations with one possible candidate, sources tell ESPN. The process for a successor is likely moving faster than the time needed to wait on an Ujiri courtship. https://t.co/9oFeARMvFY— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2020
So, to recap: James Dolan fired president Steve Mills two days before the trade deadline, and while he’s reportedly been obsessed with hiring Toronto’s Masai Ujiri to fill that role, Dolan won’t give up draft picks to steal him from the Raptors and he’s already interviewing other candidates. The Knicks just out-Knicks-ed themselves.
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