Masai Ujiri-to-the-Knicks rumors are heating up.
Raptors owner Larry Tanenbaum is throwing cold water on the notion of his team president departing.
Tanenbaum, via Michael Traikos of the Toronto Sun:
“We haven’t talked (about an extension) at this point in time, but if you ask him, his intentions are pretty clear.”
“Masai has a contract that goes for another two years — this season and next season — so there’s really no need at this point (to re-sign him),” he said.
“He is the best,” said Tanenbaum. “But no team can come to talk to him. That’s tampering. And every owner knows that. Masai is here to stay.”
Apparently, Tanenbaum isn’t among those in Toronto afraid of Ujiri leaving for New York.
Tanenbaum’s comments come on the heels of mixed reports of whether the Raptors offered an extension that Ujiri rejected. Though I don’t blindly trust Tanenbaum – who’d be incentivized to deny getting rejected – I appreciate him putting his name behind this information. That’s more credible than the previous reports that cited unnamed sources.
The Knicks are reportedly “obsessed” with Ujiri. They can offer a more prestigious historical franchise, a bigger market, more connections for Ujiri’s foundation and maybe more money. They also have owner James Dolan, who is notoriously difficult to work for.
Tanenbaum sure sounds as if he knows New York won’t tempt Ujiri. The Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment chairman is speaking in no uncertain terms. If Masai isn’t there to stay, Tanenbaum will have a lot of egg on his face.
If Masai is there to stay, Tanenbaum will have one of the NBA’s best executives.