Larry Brown hasn't been much of a Knicks fans since Isiah Thomas famously fired him as head coach in 2006, but now Brown has two big reasons to support the Knicks.
Knicks GM Scott Perry was in the Detroit Pistons front office when Brown coached them to the 2004 NBA championship. And Perry has now engineered the Knicks' acquisition of point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, whom Brown recruited to Southern Methodist University before he opted to play professionally in China. The Knicks acquired Mudiay before Thursday's NBA trade deadline in a three-way deal that sent Doug McDermott to Dallas.
"I have a lot of respect and admiration for [Perry]," Brown told SNY.tv by phone from his home in Long Island. "I've always been a Knick fan when he got there. I'm more and more inclined to try to watch and root for him because he's such a quality guy. And I'm happy for Emmanuel...I'm hopeful this will be a really great situation for him."
Brown, 77, believes a change of scenery will benefit Mudiay, who averaged 11.1 points and 4.2 assists in two-plus seasons in Denver after becoming the No. 7 overall pick in 2015.
"Sometimes you go to a situation that maybe just doesn't fit you," Brown said. "And then you land somewhere else where you have a coach that maybe you connect with right away....I know Jeff [Hornacek], he realizes he losing the kids he's lost [to injury and trades], that this is a time that he has to get people better. And he comes from an unbelievably great culture. When you play for Jerry Sloan as long as he did and you're in that situation in Phoenix where they were pretty good, I'm pretty confident he'll relate to Emmanuel and help him grow."
Brown also thinks Mudiay can play alongside the Knicks other young lead guard in Frank Ntilikina, the No. 8 pick in 2017.
"My thing is, the Knicks got a core of young guys and with [Kristaps] Porzingis getting hurt, it's a situation [where] I'm pretty confident they'll feel comfortable playing Emmanuel with Frank," Brown said. "That to me is a pretty good situation because when you look down the road [Enes] Kanter can score in the low block. We know Porzingis is going to be a terrific player. I think [Tim] Hardaway can score the ball, [Courtney] Lee can make a shot, so the things that Emmanuel does best, I'm hopeful they'll recognize.
"He can be a premier defender, he's a gym rat, he's got a high IQ and he's a great kid. And I think he just wants to be coached and I'm pretty confident they'll do that."
Brown believes Ntilikina and Mudiay can be interchangeable in the backcourt.
"Frank and Emmanuel are both long, athletic kids, so I don't see any problem," he said. "I have confidence that they knew what they were doing when they got him. Everybody questions whether Emmanuel shoots the ball well enough, or whether Frank shoots the ball well enough. I had Bruce Bowen, who couldn't shoot a foul shot. He worked on his game, went to San Antonio and led the league in three-point shooting...You can get better. I think they both can make people better."
Brown believes all young players, especially ones who never went to college like Mudiay, need to be coached up.
"Maybe I'm old school, we get rid of so many of these young kids that we draft so early and everybody says you gotta get me a better player," Brown said. "No, we've got to figure out a way to teach because when you go to one year of college or no years of college, you've got to have guys teaching, and not just guys throwing the ball back to you and these developmental coaches. We've got to have teachers."
Of course, the Knicks have a point guard glut now with Mudiay, Ntilikina, Trey Burke and Jarrett Jack. It remains to be seen how that will all play out, but Perry said Wednesday the team will focus on developing its younger players moving forward.
"I'm sure they have a plan for how they want to develop these kids," Brown said.
He also thinks Jack could help mentor the younger players.
"If you get in a locker room with a guy that sits there with you and mentors you, it can really make all the difference in the world to some of these young kids, and Jack seems to me like that kind of guy," Brown said. "Emmanuel will benefit."
As far as dealing with the New York media, Brown said it shouldn't be an issue for Mudiay.
"He's a beautiful kid," he said. "All he wants to do is be coached and play. That's why we were lucky to have him commit to us. He's a basketball junkie. He wants to be great, he wants to win, he wants to be coached. He has a really nice personality, he gets along with everybody."
Follow @AdamZagoria on Twitter