The guy who holds the key to Masai Ujiri's future is Masai Ujiri

The guy who holds the key to Masai Ujiri's future is Masai Ujiri

Look.

I’m tired of Masai to every franchise that has an opening for a president, leader, guru, presence.

You’re tired of Masai to every franchise that has an opening for a president, leader, guru, presence.

You have to trust me that Masai is tired of hearing about it — he’s told me as much when his name has come up with openings in the past — but it’s a fact of life.

Bad teams want good executives; he might be the best in the NBA today, so it’s logical that he will be linked to every open job, somehow.

If you don’t see that, you haven’t been paying attention.

So I don’t think anyone needed to get too worked up yesterday when the Knicks presidency came open and the first name on every tongue was Masai Ujiri.

But you know what?

There’s an easy resolution to this.

Once this week is over — the trade deadline truly is all consuming for every NBA president, general manager, VP of player personnel and scout — Masai could easily end all of this speculation and worry among the fans.

He could sit down on Saturday with Larry Tanenbaum, talk about the future, agree to final terms on a contract extension/offer that’s easy to figure out and sign something like a five-year deal. Or a two-year deal. Or a three-year deal.

Just something to suggest that, yes, he is indeed fine here.

It’s not so much a message to the fans, but it’s a message to the players, player agents, his bosses, his colleagues, the men and women that work for him.

Not once in any of the man conversations I’ve had with him over the years has he once even hinted at either level of dissatisfaction with anything to do with ownership, the city, the country or his job.

He does the job tremendously well, he’s got unlimited resources to work for, a staff that he trusts and respects and hand-picked. His Giants of Africa Foundation is supported at every level, he does as he wishes with it with the full blessing of his bosses and colleagues.

But you can also see that someone as competitive as he is, as driven to succeed as he is, could want a challenge and maybe there are other situations that he sees that will present those challenges.

So we don’t know. We don’t know because he does not leak his feelings — ever — and he keeps his own counsel.

But he could certainly clear things up quickly by taking whatever offer ownership might make — and money, responsibility and support are unwavering and certainly they are not going to be deal-breakers.

That’s the quickest resolution to an ongoing issue. And it’s going to be ongoing every time some “good” job somewhere else comes open.

So the women’s soccer team has a game to play for an Olympic berth and the women’s basketball team is a couple of wins away from getting to its third straight Games and, yeah, this is going to be a week of women’s sports in Canada and that’s not a bad thing, right?

I had a chat the other day with Lisa Thomaidis and a couple of players — I’ll get that story written sometime this morning — and they sure understand that historical nature of what they might accomplish.

They also know it won’t be easy — playing Belgium in Belgium before a packed house right out of the gate is a challenge – but getting to the Olympics isn’t supposed to be easy, is it?

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Of all the stuff that’s happened with the pucks — Auston Matthews and the condo incident, the firing of the coach, the up and down nature of the season — isn’t it kind of funny that the one enduring story over all the others is the search for a capable backup goaltender?

Spent most of yesterday’s Raptors practice gathering stuff for next week heading into the all-star break while Bruce wrote this.

But the one note of note was Nick suggesting they could very well hold out Marc Gaosl until after the all-star break.

“I just think he’s in pretty decent shape … I would imagine with the breaking coming, etc., I’m not sure we’ll be rushing him to get him back before the break. Then we get to buy another week or so, so wouldn’t me to that, certainly take him if he gets back before that but I can see that as a scenario playing out.”

And since there are only three games after tonight and the first game back after the break isn’t until Feb. 21 that’s a nice long rehab stretch for a veteran who is going to vitally important in the playoffs.

Oh yeah.

Happy Trade Deadline Eve!

We’ll be back here tomorrow morning with the usual post-game fare and then stake out the 3 p.m. deadline to see what goes on here and around the league and then back it here on Friday and Saturday.

I will reiterate that it doesn’t look now that the HOTH have much to do — and I don’t think they should do a thing — but a year ago today there wasn’t much percolating and it didn’t look like they had a move to make.

Then they made a huge one.

So sit back and wait, you never know what might go on.

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