The Knicks have formally introduced Leon Rose as team president with none of the fanfare that has accompanied other recent front office changes, perhaps signaling an era that will see the organization actually try to learn from past mistakes.
Though we’ve known that Rose was taking over for some time, the team made things official on Monday with a relatively standard press release. The ordinary way in which the news was announced makes this an exceptional move by the Knicks, which normally hold outlandish press conferences and make major proclamations about how this time they’re going to build a winner.
Leon Rose Named President of New York Knicks pic.twitter.com/lNc7y38YOw— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 2, 2020
And with that, the age of Leon Rose takes hold. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, so we don’t know how many millions of dollars he’s getting, nor we do know how many years Dolan has guaranteed he’ll be paid for. What we do know, however, is that the Knicks will not be holding a press conference to announce the hiring, and that Rose says he intends to take a patient approach, with no major decisions coming imminently.
No news conference for new Knicks president Leon Rose, per source. He will attend the Rockets-Knicks game tonight at MSG. His plan is to stay behind-the-scenes initially, observe/listen and stay away from big public proclamations.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 2, 2020
Although Rose is keeping relatively quiet and not yet showing his hand, season ticket holders were treated to a note from the new team president that contains a few more details of how he intends to run the show.
Instead of having a presser, Knick ticket holders just received this letter from new President Leon Rose pic.twitter.com/qupz1zMXeZ— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) March 2, 2020
In the note, which the Knicks eventually posted on their official public relations twitter account, Rose boasted about his more than 25 years working in and around the NBA, and detailed that for the rest of this season, he plans to “work tirelessly behind the scenes while evaluating every aspect of the organization.”
Notably, Rose thanked Mike Miller for his “continued leadership and professionalism during this period.” He also gave a hat tip to fallen predecessor Steve Mills and current co-worker Scott Perry by touting that the Knicks have “young talent, significant future assets (including seven first round picks over the next four years) and an ample amount of financial flexibility in the coming years.”
I knew the letter to Knicks season ticket holders sounded familiar. Steve Mills on the left from a year ago, Leon Rose on the right from today. pic.twitter.com/uohHeiahjk— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) March 2, 2020
“Nothing about this is easy, or quick, so I ask for your continued patience,” Rose wrote. “What I promise you in return is that I will be honest and forthright. We will develop a plan that makes sense, both to jumpstart our short-term growth and ensure our long-term success.”
It all sounds pretty nice. But so does zip-lining in the Congo. And before you know it, mosquitoes are sucking your blood, monkeys are stealing your food, your wife is off somewhere unknown — gallivanting with the zip-lining instructor, probably — while you’re left wondering why you even decided to vacation abroad, especially as the coronavirus spreads like melted butter on your morning toast.
Where were we? Ah yes, the Knicks have hired Leon Rose. As we prepare to be patient while the Knicks try once again to develop a winning culture and build a contending team, let’s take stock of what else we know about the newest new era of Knicks basketball.
There are rumors that Rose could bring back Carmelo Anthony next season
This is the story that will never go away until Melo has retired, and even then it wouldn’t be shocking to see people say he should come back in order to be a veteran presence on the Knicks.
The latest report that there could be a reunion between Melo and the Knicks comes via Marc Berman of the New York Post, who wrote that “incoming Knicks president Leon Rose is expected to be interested in bringing Carmelo Anthony back to the Knicks next season, according to multiple NBA executives.”
Who are these executives? And why do they hate the Knicks?
The link between Rose and Anthony is obvious; the former served as the latter’s agent from 2009 until now, since Rose had to decertify as an agent in order to take the Knicks job. That’s right, Rose was likely involved in the negotiations that sent Melo to the Knicks back in 2011. Anyhow, for his part, at this point, Melo is unsurprisingly not taking anything off the table. He recently told Newsday’s Al Iannazzone that “it’s hard to say” whether he might rejoin the Knicks.
“The easiest thing to say is, ‘His agent is there, he’s coming back.’ Until I sit down and see the whole plan, I don’t know.
Melo has been pretty good in Portland (15.4 points per game on 42 percent shooting and 36 percent from three, plus 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists), but the Trail Blazers have a couple of alphas in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to keep him in line. Meanwhile, the Blazers are in 12th place in the West right now, sitting 3.5 games out of the eighth seed.
Would Anthony allow RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and whichever other young players remain next season to lead the team? Or would he revert back to his jab-stepping ways and inadvertently teach others how they should hold the ball for as long as possible on every play?
There’s an argument to be made for bringing Melo back and healing old wounds, but the Knicks should probably stay away. Let’s move forwards, not backwards.
Did you know that Rose is chummy with Tom Thiboeau?
Thibs has been mentioned as a potential coaching candidate since the very second Mills was
fired reassigned, alongside fellow former NBA coaches like Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, among others.
The defensive-minded, hoarse-throated former Knicks assistant coach is close with Rose, according to Frank Isola of the Athletic, who believes Thibs could be a frontrunner when the Knicks inevitably decide to oust the guy currently coaching the squad.
Leon Rose has been close with Tom Thibodeau for two decades. If a coaching change is made Thibodeau would be among the favorites. Thibs is 106 games over .500 in his NBA head coaching career. By comparison, the Knicks have won a total of 144 games over the last six seasons.— Frank Isola (@TheFrankIsola) March 2, 2020
Rumors are rumors, so it’s certainly possible that the Thibs noise eventually dies down, but it seems likely that the Knicks are going to try and nab someone who has experience, as opposed to keeping Miller or hiring another neophyte.
This is the obligatory section of the story where we note that Patrick Ewing, who is currently coaching the Georgetown Hoyas, has previously expressed interest in coaching the Knicks. Maybe Rose wants somebody with more NBA head coaching experience, but it would really be lovely to one day see Ewing roam the sidelines at Madison Square Garden as coach of his former team.
Frank Ntilikina says Rose can be trusted
For those that don’t know, Rose used to be Ntilikina’s agent, but last year, amidst a flurry of trade rumors, Frank switched agents. However, although he dropped Rose in favor of a fellow Frenchman (Bouna Ndiaye is his agent now), Ntilikina still had warm words for his new boss, according to Peter Botte of the New York Post.
“I know Leon — very professional in what he does. He’s a good guy. We can trust him, I think,” Ntilikina said of Rose after Sunday’s practice. “We all want what’s the best for the team. So we all are moving in the same direction.”
Does this mean that Ntilikina still has a chance to be on the roster next season? Maybe. To be frank, we don’t know anything at the moment. But with another lost season winding down, it’s okay to be cautiously optimistic that this could be the time the Knicks do things right.
Until the first major screw up, of course.
Knicks brand consultant Steve Stoute appeared on LeBron James’ HBO show ‘The Shop.’ It will air Saturday. HBO pic.twitter.com/TdYg8s4FlY— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) March 2, 2020