Knicks fire Steve Mills, begin search for new president

New York Knicks owner James Dolan, center, reacts with fans during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, in New York. The Grizzlies won 127-106. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The New York Knicks made a big move before the trade deadline — by getting rid of the guy who would have been making their deals.

They fired President Steve Mills on Tuesday, shaking up the front office at a most unusual time.

General manager Scott Perry will take over control of the basketball operations, with the team announcing that it would begin an immediate search for a new president just two days before the trade deadline.

Mills has held a number of titles at Madison Square Garden since 1999, where he came after spending 16 years at the NBA. But this was the first time his role included full control of basketball decisions, and now MSG executive chairman James Dolan will look for someone else to do it.

“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," Mills said. “I would like to thank the staff and the players for their hard work during my tenure. I will always be a Knicks fan.”

Mills' firing is the second major change for the Knicks this season. They fired coach David Fizdale after just 22 games.

The Knicks are 15-36 this season, Mills' third in charge after replacing Phil Jackson. 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.