OPINION: What if the Knicks landed Masai Ujiri?

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As I am currently writing this, it is Friday, February 14, 2020--Valentine’s Day. During lunch today when I was scrolling through Twitter, I saw a tweet that was so relatable I laughed out loud. “You’re abusive. You disappoint (often). You don’t always listen. You make me feel like crap. But, I’ll love you forever. Happy Valentine’s Day to my first true love - The New York Knicks.” 

 This organization has disappointed me, made me sad, and was my first love (sorry, Emma). The reason I started this article out with this is because of how sad it is that the only glimmer of hope rests on a small possibility of getting one of the best NBA executives of this generation. It’s as if the could-be savior of New York will trump James Dolan’s horrible ownership, but, just for a little bit, let’s dream together.

In the last five years, I don’t think that there is a better talent evaluator in the NBA than Ujiri. Let’s take a quick peek into Toronto’s draft picks of the last five years. In 2015, they selected Delon Wright. Wright is still a backup guard and has good production for being selected 20th overall. Next up, Jakob Poeltl in 2016.  He was selected 9th overall and plays good minutes for the San Antonio Spurs. He was part of the Kawhi trade, so in my eyes, a great pick. The one draft pick that Ujiri is extremely famous for is Pascal Siakam. Selected 27th in the same draft as Poeltl, Siakam has turned himself into a Swiss Army Knife that any organization would want. OG Anunoby was picked 23rd in 2017 and will go down as one of the steals of the draft, a great defender who has the possibility of developing a 3-point shot--what every team dreams of. The Raptors also signed Fred VanVleet, who went undrafted in 2016, and turned him into one of the most dangerous backup point guards in the league.

So, enough of this man’s accolades--what if he went to the Knicks? Now, god willing, James Dolan would give him some sort of power of not only the team, but also power over who is banned from Madison Square Garden, but that’s beside the point. Dolan forgets: it is hard to rebuild if no one wants to play there. Who wouldn’t want to play for Ujiri, one of the most liked and respected figures in the game?

First and foremost, the Knicks start by either trading the young guys for veterans or trading the veterans for young guys. Ujiri knows this; he was the guy who convinced the Knicks to take Andrea Bargiani off his hands.

Not only that, we would be able to get the big name stars in free agency. Who knows, maybe New York would have been able to get Kevin Durant if Ujiri was running the show. The Knicks wouldn’t waste picks on players like Kevin Knox. Instead, they would get people who have raw talent and try to develop them. Maybe, just maybe, we could see Frank Ntilikina become the player I always knew he could be. Maybe, he hires just the right people to get RJ a better jump shot. Maybe, just maybe, Masai Ujiri would know how to rebuild the Knicks. 

But, here we are, with Leon Rose as team president and what could have been the savior of New York basketball still on the Raptors. I think it was Ben Franklin who said “Nothing is certain but death and taxes… and the Knicks being bad.”

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