According to multiple outlets, the Knicks are parting ways with Team President Steve Mills.
New York is parting ways with President Steve Mills, league source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2020
There’s been speculation for a while now that the Knicks want Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri to replace Mills. Mills hasn’t has gotten the job done and it’s not entirely his fault. The culture surrounding the Knicks has been toxic and dysfunctional for years.
And even if the Knicks do move mountains and walk hot coals (which is what they will have to do to lure Masai away from Toronto one season after winning an NBA Championship) to get Ujiri here, there’s no guarantee that the club will be any better because it has very little talent to work with.
With the firing of Mills, who has served various executive roles in the NBA for over two decades, the Knicks hope to enter into a new era.
The Knicks fired team president Steve Mills today, closing a 20-year chapter in the franchise's history. NY went 178-365 w/ him as GM or president — the NBA's worst record in that time. With about 50 hours to go until the trade deadline, NY made its move. https://t.co/qm9DqTqkcK
— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) February 4, 2020
Back in June of 2019 when the Knicks were preparing for what everyone thought would be a free agent shopping spree, team president Steve Mills indicated having an All-Black front office for the first time in NBA history will help the team in the upcoming free agency.
“The African American front office, that doesn’t get lost on guys,” Mills said in an article published in The Undefeated, which dealt with race issues.
After getting the job when Phil Jackson got booted, Mills hired GM Scott Perry, who is black, and player developmental director Craig Robinson, the brother of Michelle Obama. He also hired a director of player personnel Harold Ellis and college scouting director Gerald Madkins. Both are Black.
Unfortunately, the racial element didn’t lead to any superstars wanting to play in New York, because all of those brothers are still under the control and authority of white owner James Dolan, who is also wildly unpopular with the fans and has a terrible reputation among players in the league.
The way he allowed Jackson to damage the team and degrade Carmelo Anthony didn’t help either. The Knicks were supposed to change things around drastically this season. The franchise planned to nab the No. 1 pick and take Zion Williamson.
That didn’t happen and they dropped to third, settling on RJ Barrett who is a clean-cut below Zion and the leading Rookie of the Year candidate Ja Morant. Morant was drafted No. 2 overall by Memphis and is killing the league.
Barrett has been inconsistent, he’s not being developed and he’s had to take a backseat to journeymen such as Marcus Morris and Julius Randle while the Knicks stumble to another sure-fire lottery pick.
To make matters worse, superstar free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who were rumored to be leaning towards Madison Square Garden, ended up signing with the rival Brooklyn Nets with some coercion by Jay-Z.
That was the last straw for Knicks fans, who have been imploring Dolan to sell the team ever since.
The Knicks have been too bad for too long. It’s not Mills’ fault or the all-black front office he hoped would help him lift the franchise out of the abyss.
The New York fans want change and the owner isn’t budging, so the next man in line has to fall on the sword.