Leon Rose finally made his long-awaited debut as the Knicks' new president last week, officially joining a select group of former agents who left their positions to join big franchises.
In fact, another New York sports front office member, Brodie Van Wagenen, was in the same boat as Rose less than two years ago.
Van Wagenen, now the GM of the Mets, was an agent running CAA's baseball division. Rose had been doing the same for CAA, just on the basketball side of things.
So when Rose was considering taking the Knicks president position, he decided to give his former CAA colleague a call, and the two had several conversations on what the transition would be like for Rose.
Speaking to The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov, Van Wagenen said he told Rose that he's truly loved every minute of his new job.
"Maybe in a similar situation to him I didn't necessarily see this opportunity coming for me but I've really enjoyed the transition," Van Wagenen told The Athletic. "I've enjoyed being part of a larger organization and enjoyed having skin in the game, to sort of speak, as it relates to measuring success by wins and losses every day."
Rose and Van Wagenen go back more than a decade, having worked together in CAA Sports' efforts tin a joint venture with Roc Nation Sports.
"While Van Wagenen was on the baseball side, he says Rose was partnering with Roc Nation's basketball side and working closely with Kevin Durant," Vorkunov wrote.
Van Wagenen offered Rose some additional advice when they spoke before Rose took the Knicks job, saying that Rose "should effectively conduct an 'internal audit.'"
"I definitely talked about making sure that he walked a little bit before he ran and made sure he understands the entire organization," Van Wagenen said. "The difference in the agency business is there's a lot more moving parts and a lot more layers to the organizational structure. Learning top-to-bottom was important for me in the transition."
Like other agents turned front office members such as Golden State Warriors GM Bob Myers and Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, Van Wagenen said he and Rose are both "player-centric" people when it comes to their roles within their teams.
"I've learned, I think, the respect for the intricacies of running an organization as opposed to just working with individual players," Van Wagenen said. "I always want to be player-centric. I always want to look at the game through a player's eyes but then understanding all the resources that need to be allocated to the individual players' success is important. That's something - I think Leon cares deeply about players. As do I. And I've recognized that this job is all about growth. The more you learn and the more curious you are in terms of trying to implement new processes and make decisions the better off he'll be and the better off I hopefully will continue to be."
Van Wagenen also feels that Rose's love for the game of basketball will be a driving point of his success in a front office setting with the Knicks, calling Rose a "passionate" guy who has "the proper motivation."