The Knicks fired team president Steve Mills on Tuesday and immediately turned their attention to finding his replacement, with owner James Dolan set to interview candidates for the vacant role as Scott Perry fills in on an interim basis.
According to SNY's Ian Begley, Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is expected to be at the top of the list to replace Mills. With Ujiri under contract in Toronto, the Knicks would have to compensate the Raptors in order to hire him away.
When it comes to the Knicks potentially landing Ujiri, Begley reports that Ujiri has told confidants in the past that he'd be open to considering the Knicks job if the circumstance is right.
The Knicks, who missed out on Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving this past offseason in free agency, maintained most of their salary cap flexibility by not signing any free agents to deals longer than two guaranteed years. That amount of cap space going forward could potentially be appealing to Ujiri or any other candidate the Knicks interview.
As far as what it could take to pry Ujiri away from the Raptors, Begley detailed in December what a compensation package could look like.
A baseline of two first-round draft picks is where multiple SNY sources familiar with the dynamic of such negotiations expected any Knicks-Ujiri talks to start.
That could be a tough pill to swallow for the Knicks, who have been stingy lately when it comes to parting with first-round picks. But it's fair to wonder if that could change with Mills out of the picture and the chance to nab an executive of Ujiri's stature.
Bleacher Report's Howard Beck reported last Dec. 7 that it is believed Ujiri's contract runs through 2021 but that he has an out clause "under certain circumstances." Beck also reported that Ujiri turned down an extension from the Raptors this past summer.