In an era where NBA stars are dominating the league based on their performances, injuries, antics and such, the men behind the scenes of the NBA teams fly under the radar. However, that does not seem to be the case with the Toronto Raptors. Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors’ president of basketball operations, has been tipped to make a move to the New York Knicks, in a move that is garnering some attention, courtesy of the stellar work he has undertaken in six years in Toronto.
Looking back at a special moment last night with @Raptors President Masai Ujiri presenting NBA Africa’s Amadou Gallo Fall with a replica of the 2019 NBA Championship ring for his contribution to growing the game in Africa pic.twitter.com/aHEe324uPo
— NBA Africa (@NBA_Africa) November 11, 2019
It’s safe to say that Masai Ujiri has earned a name for himself in the NBA. Ujiri has a reputation that portrays an organisation-building prodigy. He earned executive of the year honours in Denver and after that stint, turned the Raptors into NBA champions last season. While the Toronto Raptors’ championship-winning season came at a price which saw Kawhi Leonard depart for the LA Clippers, Masai Ujiri once again proved his worth as he kept the Raptors in good stead this season with a roster that includes late draft picks and undrafted finds. As a result, the Toronto Raptors now find themselves second in the Eastern Conference. Despite seeing arguably their most important player in their championship-winning season depart for supposedly greener pastures, the Raptors’ strong start to the season in the Eastern Conference is only bettered by the Milwaukee Bucks. However, the Bucks’ prolific start to the season can be chalked down to the exploits of reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo; a start that has seen him average more than his MVP-winning season.
It is also safe to say that the New York Knicks are in dire need of change. While it is difficult to see them enforce that change roster-wise, the Raptors believe that the Knicks will look elsewhere for that change – mainly towards their president of basketball operations, Masai Ujiri. The Raptors also believe that if the Knicks’ struggles continue till the end of the season, the Knicks could very well tempt Masai Ujiri into taking up the rebuilding project in New York.
NBA: What’s in store for Masai Ujiri at the Big Apple?
That New York as a destination would provide Ujiri with a platform to take his foundation – Giants of Africa – to the next stage will also enhance the allure of the Knicks. The Raptors would hate to lose Masai Ujiri, especially considering the stellar work he has done in the six years he has been with the Canada-based side. However, the Knicks have been in the rebuilding stages since a long time, and Masai Ujiri could be seen as the man to finally finish that job for the New York Knicks.