NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Knicks hired Leon Rose as their president Monday, hoping the longtime player agent can be just as successful as an executive.
Rose is taking over what has become one of the NBA’s worst franchises, headed toward its seventh straight season out of the playoffs. But teams such as Golden State and the Lakers have found success handing their basketball operations to an agent and the Knicks are hoping to do the same.
“Leon is one of the most respected executives in professional basketball, with decades of experience successfully working with NBA players and team management in all facets of the game,” Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan said in a statement. “We are confident he brings the right combination of expertise and relationships to ensure the long-term success of our franchise.”
Rose, the former co-head of the basketball division at CAA Sports, replaces Steve Mills, who was fired early last month.
A message to our fans from Team President Leon Rose (1/3): pic.twitter.com/qc5Vh0cz0g
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) March 2, 2020
Rose has represented such All-Stars as LeBron James, Chris Paul and former Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, along with current young stars Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Now he will oversee all personnel and decisions for the Knicks.
“New York is the epicenter of basketball and Madison Square Garden has always been very special to me,” Rose said. “To be a part of the Knicks revitalization and basketball at the Garden is a challenge and a rare opportunity, one to be cherished, and I will do my utmost to make the fans, the city and ownership proud.”
The Warriors won three championships and went to five straight NBA Finals under former agent Bob Myers, and the Lakers are leading the Western Conference while being run by Rob Pelinka, who was Kobe Bryant’s agent.
Rose is a New Jersey native who has spent plenty of time around the Garden, giving him an up-close look at the work that will need to be done.
The Knicks are 18-42 and already assured a seventh straight losing season. They fired coach David Fizdale after just 22 games and then split with Mills just before the trade deadline.
This season’s troubles started long before that. The Knicks hoped their turnaround could begin in July, when they had enough salary-cap space to sign two top players. But they couldn’t get any and settled for lesser choices, assembling a roster that never fit.
The Knicks hope Rose, with his 25 years of building player relationships, can attract stars, many of whom say they love playing at MSG but not for the home team. Not since Anthony, who sought and eventually got a trade to New York from Denver in 2011, has a marquee player picked the Knicks.
He helped New York make the playoffs in his first three seasons, including a division title in 2013. But there have been no postseason appearances since.
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