Knicks president Steve Mills was fired Tuesday. In six-plus season’s as either the team’s president or GM, the Knicks were a league-worst 178-365. The move does raise some questions:
1. Why fire Steve Mills two days before the trade deadline?
James Dolan had decided to fire him eventually, so he wanted Mills’ hands off the roster. He made a mistake in letting president Phil Jackson make their lottery pick in 2017 — selecting Frank Ntilikina for the triangle offense — then firing him days later.
2. What does this mean for Scott Perry?
The GM doesn’t have a guaranteed contract for next season, so he’s likely toast whenever a new president comes aboard.
3. What would it cost the Knicks to pry Masai Ujiri, who has one more season left on his contract, away from Toronto?
A first-round pick seems reasonable, but indications are the Raptors will ask for more — maybe even two first-rounders. Best hope is NBA steps in and makes Raptors’ demands reasonable.
4. Why would Ujiri come to the Knicks?
Money is a factor, but he also knows the spotlight of New York will give his pride and joy — Giants of Africa foundation — more juice.
5. Are the Knicks considering hiring an agent to run the show?
Another reason to make the Mills’ move now instead of after the season ends is to do research on other possible candidates outside Ujiri and traditional GMs currently employed. Agents can interview tomorrow, and there’s some out there who feel they can do the job.
6. What makes the Knicks an appealing job?
It’s a risk-reward. Legends such as Isiah Thomas, Phil Jackson and Larry Brown smudged their résumés and legacies because they failed. But the person who turns around the Knicks would never have to pay for a dinner in Manhattan again. Also, they still have all their first-round picks, plus two of Dallas’ first-round picks, in addition to no significant salary commitments beyond this season other than one year of Julius Randle, plus several notable young players such as RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.
7. Does Thomas have a shot at a return?
He has told confidants he will one day run the Knicks again but Dolan isn’t that out of touch.
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