Bob Dylan’s classic tune might or might not have been about the Knicks, but the times they are a-changin’ at Madison Square Garden, as Leon Rose is reportedly set to assume the role of president of basketball operations any day now.
It’s been well-known that Rose was James Dolan’s preferred Steve Mills replacement for quite some time, but the former agent of ex-Knicks like Renaldo Balkman and Andrea Bargnani is expected to be officially announced sooner than later, according to a new report from Jonathan Macri over at Sports Illustrated.
The report comes after Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote last week that Rose couldn’t take over the Knicks until wrapping up his Creative Arts Agency responsibilities by participating in the retirement of Dwyane Wade’s jersey in Miami. Now that Rose has watched Wade’s number rise to the rafters of the American Airlines Arena, he’s apparently ready to begin his new job.
Leon Rose was delayed in assuming his responsibilities as Knicks team president because he was busying organizing Dwyane Wade's three-day jersey retirement ceremony.— Joseph Flynn (@ChinaJoeFlynn) February 24, 2020
This is all extremely on-brand.
A press conference is expected in the coming weeks, which means the Knicks must be prepping banners adorned with their logo and pumping up a basketball for fresh pictures of the new executive. You know, photos like these:
The Leon Rose era in New York will likely last at least a little bit longer than the Derrick Rose era. Hopefully it’ll contain less disappearing acts and more success. The new team president is expected to gain control over all basketball decisions, and he’s believed to desire his own head coach, with Sports Illustrated reporting that Tom Thibodeau may be the frontrunner.
In fact, the Sports Illustrated report said that “one person with knowledge of [the Knicks’] thinking put the odds at 90 percent” that Thibs will be the next head coach of the team. It’s fair to be a bit skeptical of that 90 percent figure for now, since it apparently comes from a single person who has knowledge of what the Knicks are thinking; but then again, thorough reporters often turn out to be right, even when you don’t want them to be.
As we’ve previously discussed, there’s at least some rationale behind adding Thibs, who has made the playoffs in six of the eight seasons he’s been a head coach. What does this all mean for Mike Miller, you ask? According to Sports Illustrated, Rose is open to keeping Miller on in some kind of capacity, although it’s not totally clear what capacity that might be.
It’s unclear at this point how amenable Miller would be to staying on in a reduced role, but perhaps the title of associate head coach would help sway him. Pat Sullivan, who has been something of a defensive coordinator under Miller, is also a safe bet to be retained.
And what about Scott Perry? He arrived in the summer of 2017 when the Knicks were trying to get out of the Carmelo Anthony era and into the age of Kristaps Porzingis. Both are now playing elsewhere, with KP and the Dallas Mavericks comfortably in the playoff picture while Anthony and the Portland Trail Blazers are fighting for the eighth seed — by the way, a hearty congratulations to Melo, who dropped 32 points earlier this week en route to a 107-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
The Knicks have been brutal under Perry, with an overall record of 63-158 (.285 winning percentage). Still, despite the team’s tumble down below the NBA’s basement and into the depths of hell, Perry has been an adequate basketball guy. His trades bring back draft picks, and he has held strong in not taking back any onerous contracts that stifle the team’s future flexibility. Of course, lest we forget, he’s mostly whiffed on two chances to completely retool the team through free agency. Could he have a role going forward? You’ll have to ask Leon Rose.
Every new start is a chance for a brighter future, or something to that effect, and the Knicks keep on starting anew with hopes of a future filled to the brim with sunshine. There’s no telling how long this new era will last, and it’s not clear how many players on the current roster will remain once Rose is in charge, but rest assured that the man being brought in to run the show has many connections. And going by the tenures of recent team presidents, it’s likely going to be at least a few years until we have to do this all over again.