Leon Rose

Knicks Notes: Thibodeau, Kidd, Hardy, Labeyrie

As the Knicks‘ head coaching search continues, presumed frontrunner Tom Thibodeau has received an endorsement from a former Knicks All-Star, as Adam Zagoria of Forbes writes. Patrick Ewing praised Thibodeau during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio with hosts Frank Isola and Sarah Kustok.

“I think Tom’s a great coach,” Ewing said. “I had the opportunity to (play for him), him being on the (Knicks’) staff when I played, and also work with him. He’s been around for a lot of years, he knows the game in and out. He’s gonna do everything that he needs to do in terms of having his team prepared to play every night. I think he’d be a great candidate for that job.”

Although Thibodeau is just one of 11 candidates being considered by the Knicks, reports last month indicated that he was viewed as a favorite for the job. Zagoria also hears from multiple sources that New York is expected to hire someone with previous head coaching experience.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks’ coaching candidates had an initial round of conversations with a group that included president of basketball operations Leon Rose, general manager Scott Perry, and VP of basketball and strategic planning Brock Aller, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Each candidate will have a more in-depth conversation with the team during its second round of meetings, Begley adds.
  • According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, two of the Knicks’ head coaching interviews took place on Thursday, with the team talking to Jason Kidd and Spurs assistant Will Hardy. Those interviews were why the Knicks didn’t take part in the NBA’s Thursday conference call with its bottom eight teams about a possible Chicago campus for offseason mini-camps and exhibition games.
  • Speaking of that proposed Chicago campus, the Knicks aren’t fully on board with that plan, according to Berman, who notes that the club doesn’t have much interest in playing formal games this offseason, especially since many veterans on the roster will be free agents and likely wouldn’t participate. New York is one of a handful of those bottom eight teams that would prefer to hold OTAs in its own home market to evaluate young players.
  • French forward Louis Labeyrie, a second-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft, has agreed to extend his contract with Valencia in Spain for at least two more seasons, as Dario Skerletic of Sportando relays. The Knicks have held Labeyrie’s NBA rights since ’14, but it seems increasingly unlikely that the 28-year-old will come stateside.

Knicks Notes: Mosley, Jones, Rose, Trier

Mavericks assistant coach Jamahl Mosley, a head coaching candidate for New York, has a keen ability to connect with players, longtime coach George Karl told The New York Post’s Marc Berman. “He was big in player development, then toward the end of his time, we gave him scouting reports, game-plan responsibilities,” Karl said. “He was really good with basketball intellect and really good with players. That’s the combo you need in today’s world and changing attitudes of the young players.”

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Arkansas guard Mason Jones could be a wise choice for the Knicks with their second-round pick in the draft, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic opines. Jones’ ability to get to the foul line could make him a valuable asset, Vorkunov notes. Arkansas wing Isaiah Joe and Alabama wing John Petty are among the other underrated prospects the team should consider, Vorkunov adds.
  • Leon Rose has been the team’s president for nearly four months and the early returns have been promising, according to Berman. Rose has made wide-ranging, diverse front office hires while keeping Scott Perry as GM, Berman notes. He’s also conducting a patient, thorough search for a head coach, even though Tom Thibodeau is widely considered the favorite to get the job, Berman adds.
  • Waiving Allonzo Trier in order to add Theo Pinson was a telling move by Rose, Steve Popper of Newsday opines. Trier, who was signed by the previous regime, showed talent but also drew criticism for his lackadaisical defensive effort and refusal to play his role offensively, Popper continues. That shows that Rose will value character and work ethic in future roster moves, Popper adds.

Atlantic Notes: Harris, Rose, Celtics, T. Johnson

Sixers forward Tobias Harris admits chemistry issues have held the team back, relays Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Harris made the comments in an interview Friday with ESPN’s “First Take,” suggesting that injuries have played a role in a disappointing 39-26 record.

“I’ll just say, and I’ll keep it real, we haven’t had the best chemistry throughout the whole year,” Harris said. “It took us a while to kind of get everyone together, we battled injuries from the start to the end. And right now, if we’re the sleeper, then we’re the sleeper. Truth be told, how we’re viewed, that’s someone else’s opinion, but I know when I look my guys in the eye and we have conversations, we have one goal in mind, and that’s to go out there and play and win a championship. That’s the only view that matters to me. What people have to say about our team, I get it, because we haven’t met our expectations so far this year. But we have a new opportunity in Orlando to go out and just play ball, and really scratch a new surface of what we can accomplish.”

Harris also addressed the decision to restart the season in Orlando, saying he’s concerned about the rising coronavirus rate but is ready to join his teammates if the NBA can provide a safe environment.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose tells Mike Breen of MSG Network (video link) that he understands the long-suffering nature of his fan base. “No one deserves a winner more than Knicks fans,” Rose said. “I know it’s been tough but my pledge is — we’re going to work tirelessly, we’re going to do business, we’re going to be prudent and we’re going to be in play in every aspect — the draft, trades, free agency. And we’re going to build this the right way to bring you a winner.” Rose also commented on the team’s head coaching search, saying he wants to find someone who can develop young talent and will work closely with the front office.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston looks at whether the Celtics‘ schedule for the eight games in Orlando will help them move up to the second spot in the East and questions how much it matters with all games being played at a neutral site.
  • With their signing of Tyler Johnson this week, the Nets finally got their hands on a player that they offered $50MM over four years in 2016. Billy Reinhardt of NetsDaily examines what has gone wrong for Johnson since the Heat elected to match that offer sheet.

Knicks Notes: Coaching Search, Rose, Wesley, Harper

A recent report indicated that the Knicks would look to hire a permanent head coach by the time the season resumes in Orlando on July 30, and president of basketball operations Leon Rose essentially confirmed as much in a conversation with Mike Breen on MSG Network this week. As Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic relays, Rose said he expects the search to last until mid-to-late July.

“We want to find the right leader that can develop our young players, as well as hold everyone accountable and take us from development to becoming a perennial winner,” Rose told Breen. “We also want somebody that we think will be collaborative with the front office. Someone that when you’re in that huddle, you’re looking in that coach’s eyes, every player that’s looking at him knows that person is driving the ship and going to get the job done.”

As Vorkunov and Ian Begley and Alex Smith of SNY.tv pass along, Rose also addressed several more topics, including the possibility of the Knicks becoming a free agent destination, his thoughts on some of the team’s young players, and the club’s draft plans. On the subject of appealing to top free agents, Rose said he wants to make sure the organization is “player-friendly and first-class,” per SNY.tv.

We’re going to work as hard as we can that this is the place you want to be at,” Rose said. “We have the greatest city in the world, we have an iconic arena and we just need to create culture that people are going to want to be part of.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Greg Joyce of The New York Post takes a closer look at the 11 known candidates for the Knicks’ head coaching position.
  • Former Knicks Rasheed Wallace and Stephon Marbury are unimpressed with the team’s decision to hire Rose and William Wesley (“World Wide Wes”), as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes. Wallace called the decision a “brain fart,” while Marbury referred to Wesley as a “world wide sucker.”
  • Following the Knicks’ waiver claim of Jared Harper on Thursday, Harper’s former college coach Bruce Pearl praised the Auburn alum, calling him a “flat-out winner” and suggesting New York should retain him for 2020/21. “The Knicks are getting a true scoring point guard,” Pearl told Adam Zagoria of Forbes. “He’s under-sized, but pound-for-pound is as strong and athletic as any player out there on the floor. He has tremendous range and the ability to pull from deep. He’s special in ball-screen and plays at a real good tempo.”
  • In case you missed it, the Knicks made another waiver claim today, nabbing Theo Pinson from the Nets and releasing Allonzo Trier to make room on the roster.

Knicks Officially Hire Perrin, Extend Perry

The Knicks have officially hired Walt Perrin as their assistant GM for college scouting and given GM Scott Perry a one-year extension through next season, the team announced in a press release.

Perrin’s decision to leave the Jazz and join the Knicks’ front office came to light on May 18. Perrin spent nearly two decades in Utah. He was initially hired as the team’s director player personnel before eventually being promoted to vice president of player personnel. Prior to joining the Jazz in 2001, he was a scout in Minnesota and Detroit, holding the title of director of college scouting with the Pistons.

News of Perry’s extension was reported nearly a month ago and confirmed today by team president Leon Rose.

The Knicks have also hired Brock Aller as VP of basketball and strategic planning and Frank Zanin as an assistant GM for pro scouting.

“We have assembled a diverse front office comprised of highly regarded and experienced basketball executives who have influenced some of the most successful players and organizations in the league,” Rose said in the press release. “These additions will complement the structure we already have in place and assist us in acquiring talent and developing strategies to build a team our fans can be proud of.”

Aller spent the last seven seasons with the Cavaliers in various roles. He has been their senior director of basketball operations since July 2017. He was also in the Pistons organization for nine years.

Zanin joins the Knicks after three years as a pro scout with the  Thunder. He previously held the title of assistant GM with the Nets.

Knicks To Retain GM Scott Perry For 2020/21

The Knicks have opted to retain Scott Perry as their general manager for at least another year, reports Steve Popper of Newsday. The team confirmed the decision in a statement to Newsday.

“Scott is a well-respected basketball executive who I have known for more than 20 years, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with him as we look to build a winning team in New York,” president of basketball operations Leon Rose said in that statement.

Perry had been New York’s GM under former team president Steve Mills, and there was speculation that replacing Perry would be among the changes made by the newly-hired Rose as he reshapes the club’s front office. However, given the unusual circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic, the Knicks had been expected to keep Perry on board at least to run their draft — now, they’ve decided to extend their relationship a little beyond that.

As Popper writes, the Knicks and Perry had a May 1 deadline on their mutual option for the 2020/21 season, necessitating a decision on his future this week. A source tells Popper that the two sides have agreed to a one-year contract, which will allow Rose and Perry to work together without the team having to make a long-term commitment to the GM.

The Knicks’ decision on Perry doesn’t necessarily mean the rest of the front office holdovers are safe for next season. The contracts for those executives don’t require an immediate decision like Perry’s did, according to Popper, who hears from a source that Rose will continue to do due diligence on the rest of the staff.

Atlantic Notes: Randle, Durant, Prince, Walker

New Knicks president Leon Rose is open to dealing Julius Randle despite Randle being a former client when Rose was a player agent, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Rose would also be willing to shed Randle’s contract after next season, even though Randle has a partial guarantee of $4MM on his $19.8MM salary for the 2021/22 season. Prior to Rose taking over, the Knicks had discussions with Charlotte before February’s trade deadline involving Randle, who reportedly upset some teammates this season with his ball-dominant style.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Members of the Knicks organization last summer expressed confidence that Kevin Durant would have signed with them if he hadn’t suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon in the NBA Finals, Ian Begley of SNY.TV reports. If that were true, Durant would have convinced Kyrie Irving to sign with New York instead of the Nets or recruited a different star to join him, Begley continues. The Knicks were not prepared last summer to offer Durant a max deal due to concerns from owner James Dolan regarding the injury. However, Durant has said publicly that he didn’t give the Knicks much consideration anyway, Begley notes.
  • Forward Taurean Prince took a step back this season and that could lead to a dilemma for the Nets, Zach Lowe of ESPN opines. Brooklyn gave Prince a two-year, $25.25MM rookie scale extension prior to the season that kicks in next season. He could have been a trade chip this summer in a package to bring in another star but it’s unclear what kind of value he has now, Lowe adds.
  • Kemba Walker would have remained with Charlotte for less than a super-max deal last summer but he knew that wouldn’t happen after meeting with Hornets owner Michael Jordan, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe writes. Walker may have stayed put if the Hornets had offered him five years and approximately $180MM. The Celtics emerged as the most likely destination because they were already a playoff team and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had been enamored with Walker ever since the point guard’s days at the University of Connecticut, Himmelsbach adds.

Knicks Won’t Pursue Front Office, Coaching Moves During Hiatus

New Knicks president Leon Rose is not looking into any front office changes during the hiatus, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

With an unofficial hiring and firing freeze around the league, Rose continues to lean on GM Scott Perry, assistant GM Gerald Madkins and director of player personnel Harold Ellis for draft preparations. Perry is expected to remain in his position at least through the draft, Berman continues.

The Knicks possess two first-round picks in this year’s draft — their own, plus the Clippers — as well as the Hornets second-rounder.

A report surfaced on Wednesday that the Knicks might target Sixers GM Elton Brand to replace Perry but a separate report indicated Philadelphia has no desire to let Brand leave.

The Knicks have also put a potential head coaching search on hold during the NBA’s stoppage, Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports. Rose gained a positive impression of interim coach Mike Miller during the short time games were being played after Rose officially was named to his current position.

Knicks Notes: Ellington, Rose, Miller

Following the trade deadline in February, there were multiple teams that would have had interest in Wayne Ellington if he and the Knicks had reached a buyout agreement, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. A source tells Berman that general manager Scott Perry and Ellington’s agent Mark Bartelstein had several conversations about the possibility, but ultimately elected not to move forward.

As Berman explains, Perry wanted Ellington around the Knicks’ young players because he felt as if the veteran guard was a positive influence, and the 32-year-old was happy to take on that mentor role.

Although Ellington is now on track to finish the season with the Knicks – whenever the season may end – he may end up moving on to a new NBA home for 2020/21. New York is unlikely to guarantee his $8MM salary, Berman notes.

“He might be back to a minimum-salary player next season,” an NBA personnel person told Berman. “I think maybe he’s a lost a step and he was never too athletic to begin with. He’ll hang around a couple more years because of his shooting profile.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Although new Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose was on the job for less than two weeks before the NBA suspended its season, he came away with “a positive feeling” about interim head coach Mike Miller, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Sources tell Begley that Rose was impressed by the way Miller handled the team and respected the job he’d done since taking over for David Fizdale.
  • Rose is still expected to conduct his own head coaching search after the season, but some “prominent people at Madison Square Garden” would like to see Miller remain with the organization in some capacity, sources tell Begley.
  • Appearing this week on ESPN Radio, former Knicks great Patrick Ewing addressed the feud between his former teammate Charles Oakley and Knicks owner James Dolan, as Scott Thompson of SNY.tv details. “Whatever is going on with (Oakley) and Mr. Dolan, like I’ve said before, it’s something that needs to stop,” Ewing said. “He’s one of the best players that I’ve played with. He’s a part of the Knicks’ history. He and Mr. Dolan need to get in a room somewhere and figure that out.” The two sides have been ordered by a federal appeals court to mediate their dispute.
  • In case you missed them, we’ve published stories this week on Damyean Dotson, Reggie Bullock, and more Knicks-related subjects. Check out their team page right here.

Knicks Notes: Rose, Knox, Hiatus, Brazdeikis

Kentucky head coach John Calipari, who has a long-standing relationship with new Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose, said today on a conference call that he thinks Rose is the right man for the job in New York, per Scott Thompson and Ian Begley of SNY.tv. While Calipari acknowledged that changes within the organization might not happen overnight, he’s confident that Rose will do a “great job” and will eventually get the Knicks on the right path.

“He’s a gatherer,” Calipari said. “And I believe that’s what the Knicks need right now, a gather who can bring things together and make it a culture that players want to be in because they know, ‘This is about all of us.'”

Calipari also spoke at length about former Kentucky forward Kevin Knox, who has struggled thus far in his two NBA seasons. As Danny Abriano of SNY.tv relays, Calipari said he has seen “glimpses” from Knox at the NBA level and believes the 20-year-old is still going through an adjustment period.

It’s going to take time. What you don’t want to do — and teams have done this in that league — they give up on a young, young player too soon,” Calipari said. “And now all of a sudden, the guy comes back and they look and the whole thing in New York will be, ‘Well, what if we had him? We gave him away. We should have held on longer. Why did we do that?'”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Mike Vornukov of The Athletic identifies six ways the Knicks will be affected by the NBA’s hiatus, including its impact on the team’s coaching search, draft prep, and free agency period. As Vornukov points out, the Knicks beating Atlanta in their last game before the break will cost them in the lottery standings if the regular season doesn’t resume.
  • Ignas Brazdeikis, who only appeared in nine games for the Knicks as a rookie in 2019/20, would have gotten a chance at regular minutes down the stretch after the NBA G League season ended, sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post. “That was the plan — join the team, get an opportunity,” one source told Berman. “The Knicks were happy with his development. He kept a real positive mentality, kept his head down and was excited about the opportunity.”
  • Former NBA head coach Rick Pitino tells Steve Selby of The New York Post that he was shocked by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant signing with Brooklyn without even meeting with the Knicks. “The Knicks today, it’s not like the old days, where everybody dreamed of playing at Madison Square Garden,” Pitino said. “… The Knick organization is going through difficult times, but hopefully they got the right leadership now and they’ll turn it around.”