The New York Knicks parted ways with president Steve Mills, the team announced Tuesday.
General manager Scott Perry will oversee the basketball operations in the interim, the team said.
Knicks owner James Dolan has long coveted Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri to run the franchise’s basketball operations, but complications involving Ujiri’s contract status and New York’s reluctance to surrender draft-pick considerations as potential compensation to Toronto are already dimming Dolan’s desire to pursue Ujiri over the next several months, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Dolan has discussed the job with one potential candidate recently, the sources said.
Sources tell ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Wojnarowski that Dolan is already considering a front-office model that is working with the Golden State Warriors (Bob Myers) and the Los Angeles Lakers (Rob Pelinka): hiring a top basketball executive out of the player agent ranks.
“Steve and I have come to the decision that it would be best for him to leave his role as president of the New York Knicks,” Dolan said in a prepared statement. “We thank Steve for his many years of service to our organization and look forward to continuing our relationship with him as part of our board.”
The Knicks said it was anticipated that Mills would be nominated to the board of Madison Square Garden’s stand-alone sports company.
The Knicks’ front-office shake-up on Tuesday comes two days before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
The Knicks are 15-36, the third-worst mark in the Eastern Conference.
Mills, 60, has been the Knicks’ president since July 2017 and previously worked as their executive vice president since 2013. Before being promoted to president, Mills had also served as the team’s GM since March 18, 2014. He originally joined the Knicks in 1999 as executive vice president of franchise operations.
“It has been a great honor to represent the Knicks,” Mills said in the statement. “I will always be grateful to Jim for giving me the chance to represent this franchise and I’m disappointed we were unable to achieve success for New York. I would like to thank the staff and players for their hard work during my tenure. I will always be a Knicks fan.”
Since Mills rejoined the Knicks in 2013, the franchise is 178-365, the worst record in the NBA, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The Knicks fired coach David Fizdale in December after the team started the season 4-18. Fizdale was 21-83 in less than two seasons as Knicks coach.
Mike Miller was named interim coach and the Knicks have gone 11-18 since.
They were 17-65 last season, tying the worst record in franchise history, but believed a big summer could lead to a quick improvement.
However, they couldn’t sign any of the top free agents despite having enough money to afford two of them, watching as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving instead went to Brooklyn. Mills then pivoted to sign veteran players to short-term contracts, later insisting those were the players New York was targeting all along.
The Knicks are headed for a seventh consecutive season with a losing record and no playoff appearance.