The upcoming week will mark the first chance for new president of basketball operations Leon Rose to put his stamp on the Knicks, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The trade moratorium ends Monday, followed by the draft on Wednesday and the start of free agency on Friday. New York has a chance to play a significant role in all three events.
Bondy notes that Rose could opt for a win-now approach by trading for an expensive veteran such as Russell Westbrook. Or he could keep the team’s draft picks, target young free agents and accumulate assets to build for the future. Rose may also avoid adding significant payroll to set up a run at an elite free agent next summer, possibly Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Two sources in contact with the Knicks about their personnel tell Bondy that new coach Tom Thibodeau is advocating moves to turn the team into an immediate playoff contender. Thibodeau expects to have a say in roster moves, but Rose’s direction for the franchise won’t become clear for a few more days.
There’s more from New York:
- There’s speculation that former NBA guard Rick Brunson, who served as an assistant to Thibodeau with the Bulls and Timberwolves, could be joining the Knicks in some capacity, Bondy adds in the same story. Brunson recently resigned as head coach at Camden High School. He was Rose’s first NBA client and had been working out Kevin Knox and other players while the league was shut down.
- The Knicks are considered candidates to move up in the draft, but they haven’t been overly impressed with either LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards, according to Steve Popper of Newsday. Tyrese Haliburton also doesn’t appear to be a target, Popper adds, so New York may trade down to acquire more assets. He mentions Kira Lewis Jr. or Killian Hayes as possibilities, along with wing players Isaac Okoro, Patrick Williams and Devin Vassell.
- Okoro and Haliburton are the best fits for Thibodeau’s coaching style, Paul Biancardi, ESPN’s national basketball recruiting director, tells Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Biancardi, who played for Thibodeau in college, likes Okoro’s mindset and commitment to defense, while Haliburton would be a “high-IQ” leader at point guard. Biancardi points to Texas Tech’s Jahmi’us Ramsey and Washington’s Isaiah Stewart as players to watch at No. 27.