The Knicks have issued a statement refuting an assertion by brand consultant and CEO of Translation Steve Stoute that interim coach Mike Miller will not be retained after the season (Twitter link). Stoute stirred up a controversy on ESPN’s “First Take” when he indicated Miller’s future had already been determined, New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy relays.
“There had to be a change in [firing team president Steve Mills]. That change will bring a new coach and new coaches that are going to help develop these younger players,” Stoute said in the TV interview. “And they got some young players — you see RJ Barrett, Mitch Robinson. They got something to work with. And getting a coach in there and ultimately getting a coach and a coaching staff that’s going to help develop a team.”
The Knicks replaced Mills last week with longtime agent Leon Rose. The Knicks’ statement suggested that Rose – whose hiring hasn’t yet been officially announced -will decide who coaches the team next season.
“While Steve Stoute is a valued contributor to the Knicks’ marketing and branding efforts, he does not speak on behalf of New York Knicks personnel and basketball operations. Any decisions regarding the operations of the team will be made by the new President of the New York Knicks.”
The team’s statement also included a clarification by Stoute, who said in part he “inadvertently insinuated about Knicks personnel.”
While it’s logical to conclude Miller’s chances of remaining the coach are diminished with the firing of Mills, the Knicks have once again been thrust into a PR mess while putting Miller in an awkward position.
Stoute is well-connected within the organization and is a close friend with Rose’s confidant William Wesley, who is expected to have a role within the franchise, Bondy notes.
However, Stoute shouldn’t be passing himself off as a basketball expert, Frank Isola of The Athletic tweets. Rose’s top priority should be to define roles throughout the organization while the coach should be the public voice of the team, Isola adds.