Masai Ujiri is a wanted man.
As the beloved president of basketball operations of the Toronto Raptors, Ujiri has helped shape a plucky if imperfect team into a perennial playoff combatant, but his tenure as the de facto King in the North could be nearing an end if the New York Knicks have their way.
After parting ways with former Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson as the team's president of basketball operations on Wednesday, the Knicks are "confident" that they can bring Ujiri aboard, according to the Toronto Star's Bruce Arthur. The Toronto Sun's Ryan Wolstat, meanwhile, added that a source from a rival team believes the Raptors would likely receive a first-round pick as compensation in the event Ujiri is poached.
After several seasons of self-immolation, the Knicks evidently believe that a historic brand in North America's largest city warrants stable, professional, and exceptional leadership. Enter Ujiri, who the Knicks have been linked to as far back as spring 2016.
However, it's not quite a foregone conclusion that the 2013 NBA Executive of the Year is bound for the Big Apple, as ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported Wednesday, citing league sources, that it would be "extremely difficult" for the Knicks to land Ujiri, given that the team is reluctant to part with picks.
Ujiri signed a five-year extension on Sept. 2, 2016 to remain the Raptors' president of basketball operations. The particular mechanics which would allow him to shed his remaining contractual obligations and move to a division rival are unclear.