David Falk has an interesting perspective on NBA teams hiring agents as team presidents/general managers. He was one of the league's most successful agents in the 1990s and early 2000s. Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Dikembe Mutombo were among Falk's star-studded list of clients.
So Falk's opinions on the Knicks' decision to hire Leon Rose as team president are noteworthy.
Falk offered some thoughts on Rose and the Knicks in an interview on the Beningo and Roberts Show on Friday. Below are some of the highlights:
Predicts a Calipari hire
Falk said several times that he wishes Rose well as Knicks president. He also made it clear that he doesn't believe Kentucky coach John Calipari when he says he won't be the Knicks' next coach.
"I am happy for Leon. I think it's a great opportunity for him to spread his wings, try something new and different. I've known William Wesley since 1986, he's a good friend," Falk said of 'World Wide Wes,' who is expected to join the Knicks with Rose. "I'm waiting for, I'll take bets on how long it's going to take before they hire John Calipari to be the next coach. I'd say 30 seconds. And I hope it works, I'm rooting for him to make it work."
Calipari has a close relationship with Rose and Wesley. Falk's assertion about Calipari coaching the Knicks is probably based on that relationship. Last Friday, Calipari essentially pulled his name from consideration for the job.
"Let me say this: first of all, I haven't talked to Leon, so I don't know if it's done, if he's doing it," Calipari said. "I have no idea. But let me tell you about him: I've known him for 25 years -- dear friend. In a rough-and-tumble business -- really, that business he was in was a sport, too, like body-to-body contact, it is -- and I've never heard anyone in 25 years say anything bad about Leon Rose. He's a gatherer, he's a culture-builder. I'd help him in any way I could, being a resource. You want to call and ask me about college players, my own players, I'm here. It just wouldn't be to coach."
At the time of his interview on WFAN, Falk was aware of Calipari's comments.
Later in the interview, when wishing Rose well, Falk reiterated that he'd "bet" that Calipari would end up coaching the Knicks.
"I wish you a lot of good luck, I really hope it works, I really hope the Knicks get a lot better," Falk said to hosts Evan Roberts and Kim Jones, addressing Rose directly. "If my boy World Wide Wes, who I've known forever, is a part of the package, he's one of the great personalities I've ever met. Really well-connected guy, really interesting person, I really hope it works. And I will take bets, despite the denials, I will take bets on Calipari being the coach next year."
Calipari isn't the only coach who has a close relationship with Rose. Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Tom Thibodeau are among the other coaches Rose has a relationship with. Due to his long tenure as a top agent, he surely has strong relationships with other coaches.
Didn't think the timing of Mills firing made sense
Falk was asked about Knicks owner James Dolan. He said he had a solid relationship with Dolan -- pointing out that part of an agent's job is to have a strong relationship with ownership. He didn't want to be critical of Dolan, but did question the timing of the owner's decision to fire team president Steve Mills. Mills was fired two days before the NBA trade deadline.
"Definitely a mistake to fire Steve in mid-season," Falk said. "You're going to bring someone in that's going to make it better (in the middle of the season)? What's he going to do? You're going to fire (Mills two days) before the trade deadline? I think you get through the trade deadline. You could always fire him."
It's unclear why Dolan decided to fire Mills when he did. There was disagreement in the organization about the right approach at the trade deadline, per SNY's Ian Begley. Some wanted to hold on to future first-round picks and maintain cap space for the future. Others wanted to spend some of those assets to acquire a player who could help New York win this season.
Maybe Dolan fired Mills two days before the deadline because he was worried that the Knicks would make a trade to hamper the franchise? But, as Falk points out, Dolan has final say on all trades as owner. So he could have just prevented Mills from making the trade.
It's worth noting that fans chanted "Sell the team!" at a home game in late January, and Mills was fired before the next home game. News of Rose's hire also emerged prior to the next home game. So one theory -- that's unconfirmed -- is that part of Dolan's reason to fire Mills before the trade deadline was to ensure that fans wouldn't publicly call for him to sell the team anymore. Just a theory.
Falk touches on several other Knicks topics in the interview, which is well worth your time. He thinks the Knicks' success is important to the league overall, and doesn't understand why Ewing, his former client, hasn't gotten the chance to coach an NBA team.
"Will Patrick ever get an opportunity in the NBA? When a team is really smart, wants a guy who's extremely knowledgeable, one of the hardest working people I've ever been around, has got a great personality, they'll call him," Falk said. "Until that time, they'll just probably just keep continuing to recycle the same old guys."
Falk said he doubts the Knicks will contact Ewing for their next coaching search, assuming the club doesn't keep interim Mike Miller as head coach beyond this season.