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James Dolan refused to make a trade with Masai Ujiri for Kyle Lowry because he didn’t want to get scammed by Ujiri again

Dolan's reasoning for not trading for Lowry probably ended up hurting the Knicks franchise dearly
Jim Dolan refused to make a trade with Masai Ujuri for Kyle Lowry because he didn’t want to get scammed by Ujuri again

James Dolan, was afraid of getting scammed by Toronto's President of Basketball Operations, Masai Ujiri

The New York Knicks have been stuck in futility in the NBA for quite some time now. They have only had one season with a record above .500 in the past nine seasons, and they have generally failed to meet expectations over the past decade. It's been a horrible stretch for the Knicks, and it has left fans wondering when things will get better.

Dolan passed up on a trade that could have changed the Knicks' fortunes

There have been a lot of moves the Knicks have made in recent years that have backfired spectacularly. There have also been quite a few moves that New York would have benefitted from had they ended up making them. Chris Herring of Sports Illustrated recently discussed a move the Knicks were close to making but ultimately decided not to for a ridiculous reason.

On his Knicks Talk podcast, Herring recently said that the Knicks were close to trading for Kyle Lowry when he was on the Toronto Raptors for a deal centered around Iman Shumpert. It ended up not going through because New York's owner, James Dolan, was afraid of getting scammed by Toronto's President of Basketball Operations, Masai Ujiri.

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Ujiri constructed the deal that sent Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the Knicks, and the Nuggets were widely believed to have won the deal. According to Herring, Dolan didn't want history to repeat itself and ultimately killed the deal.

"When I was on the beat before, there was one trade that the Knicks probably should have made in hindsight that would have involved Iman Shumpert being the centerpiece of what they were sending to get back Kyle Lowry. They didn't make the deal in part because Masai Ujiri — or at least the rumor was or the belief was — the Knicks were ready to make the deal, but Jim Dolan didn't want to because Masai Ujiri had been the guy that foisted Carmelo on them, and there was so much talk for so long about the fact that Denver got the better end of that deal." - Chris Herring, Knicks Talk with Chris Herring

How different would the Knicks have been had they landed Lowry?

Herring doesn't specify a time in which this deal nearly went through, but it would have had to have been at some point between the 2012-12 and 2014-15 seasons, as that was the period when Shumpert was in New York, and Lowry was in Toronto at the same time as each other. Lowry was still developing as a player, while Shumpert was starting most of the time for the Knicks.

Of course, Lowry would become an All-Star with Toronto, while the Knicks eventually traded Shumpert to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It's clear that had this deal been made, the trajectory of the Knicks franchise would look quite different, given how Lowry and Shumpert's careers progressed afterward.

At the time the deal probably went through, it was reasonable for Dolan to be skeptical of making this deal, as Lowry wasn't the player he is now. But his reasoning for not making the deal, which was supposedly so he wouldn't look like the loser in a deal with Ujiri again, isn't a great look. Either way, this is another deal the Knicks didn't capitalize on that could have helped their franchise out in quite a big way. 

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