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Concerned about the Knicks

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The Knicks stay the Knicks.

The NBA’s most dysfunctional franchise fired their President of Basketball Operations, Steve Mills, on Tuesday, about 48 hours before what is one of the three most important days in an NBA GM’s calendar: trade deadline day. (Free agency opening and draft day being the other two.)

Good teams don’t do this sort of thing, but, again… the Knicks stay the Knicks.

One would imagine that, if you were going to fire your top exec right before the trade deadline, you must have a good reason (like some sort of scandal or something that can’t be avoided), or, you have a better option waiting in the wings.

Like, say, Masai Ujiri, one of the best executives (if not the best) in the NBA.

The Knicks and their owner James Dolan have long coveted Ujiri so I won’t lie, when the news of Steve Mills’ dismissal came across Twitter, I immediately thought: oh no.

Then, of course, I remembered that it’s the Knicks, and if anyone was going to fire their GM right before the trade deadline without a backup plan, it’s the Knicks.

Naturally, Woj and Stein and co. came along to fan the flames immediately thereafter.

And collectively, Raptors Twitter went…

So what do we make of all this? Do the Knicks really, truly have a shot at Masai Ujiri? Would Masai leave Toronto for the Knicks? Would Masai leave Toronto, period?

Would MLSE even allow the Knicks to talk to Ujiri, who is under contract for one more year, and if they did, what sort of compensation would they demand from the Knicks should Masai express a desire to go there…. And would the Knicks be willing to pay?

How Concerned Should we be about Masai Ujiri Leaving?

With all of these questions swirling around, I now unveil my official Masai Ujiri Concern-o-Meter!

The Concern-o-Meter currently stands at a 3.0 out of 10 (where 1 is the least concerned, and 10 is highly concerned).

(If this story persists for a few days, then I’ll draw up a fancy graphic and everything!)

Current Concern-o-Meter Rating: 3.0

Here’s why it’s at 3.0:

  • The timing of the Knicks announcement and the speed of those Woj and Stein tweets caused actual doubt for the first time ever
  • The tweets that soon followed, about the Knicks hiring an agent a la the Lakers, eased my fears
  • I still just can’t really see Masai leaving a great situation for a terrible one…
  • … especially if the Knicks had to give up assets to get him there, making his job that much harder.

What do you think? How concerned are you about Masai’s tenure in Toronto right now?

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Thousands of tickets still available for world junior hockey tournament in Edmonton – CBC Sports

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Odd summer timing and an ongoing sexual assault scandal at Hockey Canada could be the reason thousands of tickets to the world junior championship are still available on the eve of the tournament, says an Edmonton professor.

Prof. Dan Mason, who teaches in the faculty of kinesiology, sport, and recreation at the University of Alberta, said when Canada hosts, there are usually so many fans who want to see the home team take the ice that they are willing to buy Hockey Canada’s packaged games that include teams that are not Canadian.

“So Latvia vs. Slovakia, for example, those games will be sold out as well because in order to get the tickets to watch Canada play, you have to buy a package that includes some of the other games,” he said on Friday.

“The fact that there are still Team Canada tickets available, that tells you the demand is much lower than it usually is for this kind of event.”

WATCH l World junior tournament to go ahead amidst Hockey Canada controversy:

World junior hockey tournament to go ahead amidst Hockey Canada controversy

7 hours ago

Duration 2:07

Ticket sales for the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton are below expectations as the tournament kicks of this week in the shadow of an ongoing sexual assault scandal at Hockey Canada.

The tournament runs from Aug. 9-20 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

The initial 2022 championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., was called off Dec. 29 after just four days because of rising COVID-19 cases among players and officials, which forced game forfeitures.

The 10-country tournament will be minus Russia, barred from participating by the International Ice Hockey Federation because of that country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Holiday tradition

Around 1,500 tickets are still available for purchase on Ticketmaster to the first game between Czech Republic and Slovakia on Tuesday. About 1,300 tickets are available for the next day when Canada takes on Latvia. About 1,500 seats for the final game are also available with hundreds of other tickets to watch the 11-day tournament.

This time of year, you probably already had plans to go to the lake … or do something summer-related.— Edmonton professor Dan Mason on poor ticket sales for an August world juniors

Mason said the timing of the games could be why interest is so low. The tournament typically runs over the Christmas holidays.

“Over the past 30 years or so, TSN has built the world juniors into this holiday event that people partake in,” he said.

“I watch it with my family over the [Christmas] break though so it’s kind of become part of our holiday tradition.

“This time of year, you probably already had plans to go to the lake, go to the mountains or do something summer-related. I don’t think we’re willing to give up those plans to watch hockey.”

Many people could also be waiting for a former judge on the Supreme Court of Canada to begin independently reviewing Hockey Canada’s governance amid calls for a change of leadership.

The review comes after members of the 2018 world junior team were accused of a group sexual assault after a gala event, and after Hockey Canada reached a settlement.

“I think there’s people who weren’t sure if they would go or not, and maybe deciding not to go because of that,” Mason said.

The CEO of Explore Edmonton, which promotes tourism in the Alberta capital, said in an email the marketing organization paused its promotion of the games in response to the allegations.

“As the host city for the upcoming tournament, we continue to have discussions with Hockey Canada officials about their plans to address the need for change,” said Traci Bednard.

Mason said inflation and less disposable income could be other factors working against the tournament.

“Canada may be more focused on that player development piece than trying to sort of make money off of a tournament being held in the summer,” he said.

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Nets owner Tsai backs coach, GM amid reported Durant standoff – theScore

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Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai has pledged his support of the coaching staff and front office after Kevin Durant reportedly demanded that the team trade him or fire head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks

Tsai took to Twitter on Monday, saying, “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

Durant’s ultimatum is apparently a result of his lack of faith in the team’s direction, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported earlier Monday. The 33-year-old is firm in his stance, Charania adds.

The former MVP requested a trade at the end of June following a disappointing season that ended in a first-round exit. Little was known at the time about his reasons for the decision.

The Nets have reportedly had discussions with nearly every team in the league in hopes of getting a historic package of players and draft picks in return for Durant. Brooklyn reportedly proposed a trade with the Toronto Raptors involving Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes and talked about a deal with the Boston Celtics that would include star Jaylen Brown.

The Raptors, Celtics, and Miami Heat are seen as the most likely trade destinations for Durant, sources told Charania.

The Nets aim to take “every last asset” from their trade partner in any deal for Durant, according to Charania.

Nash, a Hall of Fame point guard, has been at the helm of the Nets for two seasons. It is his first job in professional coaching. Meanwhile, Marks has held the position of general manager since 2016 after being an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs.

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Watch live for free: Leylah Fernandez vs. Storm Sanders at National Bank Open – Sportsnet.ca

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Update: This stream has ended.

Canadian Leylah Fernandez begins her quest for her first National Bank Open title against qualifier Storm Sanders of Australia, under the lights in Toronto.

Fernandez, still only 19, is returning to action for the first time since suffering a fracture in her foot during the quarterfinals of the French Open on May 31.

The Laval native is the top-ranked Canadian on the WTA Tour after a headline-making run to the U.S. Open final last year.

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