Last summer, Scott Perry was ready to make the official move from Orlando to Sacramento to start his new journey as the VP of Basketball Operations with the Kings. But that's before Knicks president Steve Mills gave him a ring.
Perry had signed on with the Kings in April, but when Mills called about the GM role he currently holds in New York, he couldn't resist.
"So I started in Sacramento April 24," Perry told NorthJersey.com's Steve Popper. "And we go through the draft, we go through the free agency. I enjoyed my time there. We were actually in Las Vegas Summer League and I hear from Steve Mills, asking did I have an interest in the general manager's job. Obviously I did."
Perry was just about to make his move to Sacramento permanent when Mills called. The moving trucks were all set to leave in two days, but Mills stopped everything in its tracks, and rerouted his course to the Big Apple.
"The irony of it was after that phone call I immediately got on the phone with my wife because all of our things had been loaded on the truck and the truck was leaving in two days, to move all of our stuff to Sacramento," he said. "We hadn't moved yet. I called her and said, 'Get a hold of the moving company and tell them, pause for a little bit. Don't leave yet.' Obviously, they never left. They ended up having to unpack the truck, put the things in storage and we came to New York."
What Perry was rolling into at Madison Square Garden wasn't an easy situation for a first-time GM in any respect. First, Carmelo Anthony wanted out, but he wasn't making things easy with former team president Phil Jackson in charge. Then, there was Kristaps Porzingis who skipped his exit meeting, showing his disgust at where the organization was at the time.
Perry didn't let these issues faze him, though. He immediately had a conversation with Melo, and figured out a way to grant his wish as he was traded to the Thunder.
A grand plan has always been in place for the 54-year-old GM when he stepped foot in New York, and he has been sticking to it as he looks to bring the Knicks back to the powerhouse they were in the past. It showed last season when he and Mills didn't expect his team to win, but wanted to see development in their young roster.
And an even bigger step was Perry's first draft with the Knicks, where he selected versatile forward Kevin Knox -- one of the youngest players in the draft at 18 years old -- with the No. 9 overall pick. He also took a flyer on C Mitchell Robinson, and if both of these rookies' summer league performances say anything about their future, they both look like solid picks.
Combine this with the addition of head coach David Fizdale, and Perry's plan seems to be in the right direction. Fizdale has already played a vital role in creating this new Knicks culture, with his latest adventure to build relationships with his players has brought him to Latvia to visit Porzingis for the first time as he rehabs his knee.
"You know, obviously, we all have a human side," Perry said. "But I'm very comfortable with our vision and plan. So it's easy in that sense, that I have a great sense of confidence in where we're heading. Daily, I can see the steps we're taking. They may not be for the world to see with the huge names right now, but I can see the steps in the improvement that we're taking right now. I know we're heading on the right track. That gives me a lot more confidence, keeps my patience where it needs to be."
That patience has even funneled down to the Knicks' fan base despite the pre-conceived notions that many have on New York's faithful. Championships are expected around these parts, but Perry saw the opposite during his first season.
"I knew in taking the job from afar that New York fan base was very knowledgable and very passionate about the Knicks," Perry explained. "But to come here and live it and now feel it, it's even greater than I could have imagined. Because as I've gone around this city, whether it's been in restaurants, walking the streets, at the Garden, so many people in the community have stopped me and said, 'Look, we really like what you're doing. Stick with your plan. We see the vision. We're behind you. We can have patience.'
"There was a narrative that patience didn't exist in New York, but during this first year what I've heard from the fan base is different now."
So, what's the next step in Perry's plan? Free agency in 2019 could be the biggest one for the Knicks, as they are expected to be true contenders for names like Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Kevin Durant. Perry even said after the draft that he wants the Knicks to be "attractive" again for potential players in the offseason.
The plan will continue its course this season as the young talent continue their development on basketball's biggest stage at The Garden. And, in his sophomore season, Perry will continue to watch his vision come to fruition as he slowly brings the Knicks out of the shadows.