Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Leon Rose officially took over as Knicks team president on Monday. Here's a look at a few important decisions he'll face in the near future:
1) Get prepared for the 2020 NBA Draft
Hiring a coach, of course, is one of the biggest decisions Rose will make as team president. But bringing in/retaining the right front office executives and scouting staff is just as imperative.
The Knicks currently have two first-round picks and an early second-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. So scouting and analysis in the coming weeks will be pivotal for a club that hopes to build around young talent.
Rose isn't expected to make big changes to the front office immediately. But he'll need to decide if he wants to rely on the scouting under the previous regime of Steve Mills and Scott Perry, or bring in new execs/scouts to do their own analysis. Hitting on some of these picks in June is crucial for obvious reasons.
2) Who will be the next head coach?
This will shape a lot of what happens in the Rose era.
Rose, as we've all noted, has a close relationship with Tom Thibodeau. Because of that association, Thibodeau is expected to get strong consideration for the job if Rose doesn't bring back interim head coach Mike Miller. But Rose also has relationships with coaches around the NBA and college, which is why some opposing executives caution against the idea that Thibodeau is a lock to be the Knicks' next head coach.
Regardless of who Rose hires, it's imperative that the coach is in lock step with Rose, management, and owner James Dolan -- and all are committed to the same vision for the team. So many times over the last two decades, there have been fractures between management, ownership, and the coaching staff, which have led to things going sideways for a Knicks team that has just one playoff series win since 2000.
3) What do you do with Julius Randle and other vets?
Rose is expected to be in attendance for Monday's Knicks-Rockets game at Madison Square Garden. People in the organization anticipate he'll spend a lot of time on the road with the club. This first-person view will give Rose a chance to analyze everything about the organization's day-to-day operations.
One of the most pressing decisions for Rose here will be to determine which veterans he'd like to keep and which to move on from. Moe Harkless, Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson are free agents. Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton, Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis have contracts for next season that aren't fully guaranteed. So Rose will have to decide on those players' futures. (Mitchell Robinson also has a team option, but that should be an easy decision).
In addition, Rose has to decide if Julius Randle is in the correct role for the club. Randle is under contract for next season, but the third season of his deal isn't fully guaranteed. The Knicks included Randle in trade conversations prior to the deadline, and prior to Rose taking over. Potentially of note: Rose is formerly the co-head of CAA basketball. Randle is a CAA client, as is Payton.
4) Which young players stay and which go?
Under Mills and Perry, the Knicks had been trying to develop a solid young core of players to build around. The results, so far, have been mixed. How Rose views the Knicks' young players -- and what kind of assets he can turn them into if he doesn't see them as part of the future -- is crucial.
RJ Barrett and Robinson seem to have shown that they are valuable young talents who have the chance to develop into players who can produce consistently on contending teams. Kevin Knox has shown flashes of that, but not with much consistency this season. Same goes for Frank Ntilikina. Dotson and Trier haven't had consistent minutes this season, and second-round pick Ignas Brazdeikis has spent the season mostly in the G League.
If Rose doesn't see any of these young players as part of the future, it will be interesting to see what kind of return he can get for them in trades. It's worth noting that the Knicks, prior to the deadline, wanted to keep enough assets in place to be in conversations on any trade opportunities for disgruntled stars. Some of the young players listed above would almost certainly be a part of those trade conversations.
5) Send a message to fans
Rose won't have an initial press conference to address media and fans. He'll attend Knicks games at home and on the road to get acclimated with different facets of the organization.
On Monday, the Knicks sent a letter from Rose to season ticket holders and posted the letter on Twitter to their fans. Rose offered some details of his approach to the job in his message to fans. Eventually, it makes sense for him to get in a formal press conference setting to discuss his plans/vision for the team and answer questions about his transition from super-agent to team president, what he's looking for in players/executives/coaches, and other topics that Knicks fans -- long starved for a winner -- would like to hear his thoughts on.