With the Knicks firing team president Steve Mills on Tuesday, all eyes turn to Masai Ujiri.
As The Post’s Marc Berman has previously reported, James Dolan has long been interested in the championship-winning Raptors president.
“They look at him as the chosen one,” an NBA team executive told Berman in December.
Dolan explored making a play for Ujiri in 2017 in the wake of the Phil Jackson debacle, but the draft compensation at the time was considered too much. He ended up promoting Mills from general manager to president.
Now, with the franchise in continued turmoil after missing out on the top free agents last summer, will Dolan be more willing to do whatever it takes to get Ujiri?
Ujiri is under contract through next season, and according to ESPN, the Knicks are balking at compensation for his services.
In the two years after the Knicks’ first attempt at Ujiri, he acquired Kawhi Leonard and guided Toronto to the franchise’s first NBA championship. Though Leonard bolted to the Clippers in free agency, the Raptors are second in the Eastern Conference at 36-14 this season.
What if the Knicks fail to land Ujiri?
Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti could be an option. Presti drafted Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden and turned Oklahoma City into an NBA title contender for years.
This past offseason, Presti turned Paul George and Westbrook into a handful of draft picks, a young stud (Shai Gregorius-Alexander) and an established star (Chris Paul) in trades with the Clippers and Rockets.
Neil Olshey, the Trail Blazers’ president of basketball operations who grew up in Flushing and went to Xavier High School in Manhattan, could be a dark horse candidate.
Spurs general manager RC Buford is an intriguing name with San Antonio in transition after many years of being among the best teams in the league.
Clippers general manager Michael Winger and Thunder assistant general manager Troy Weaver are other names often mentioned when openings come about.
For more on the Knicks firing Steve Mills, listen to the latest episode of the “Big Apple Buckets” podcast: