Rich Kleiman, who is Kevin Durant's manager and business partner with Thirty Five Ventures, loves what the Knicks are doing in bringing in next team president Leon Rose.
Kleiman, like many, has a ton of respect for what Rose has done over his career as a lead agent in the NBA. He calls the hire, which still isn't official, a "home run."
"People get a bit caught up in having experience on paper, experience doing a certain job. But what Leon's done for the last 20 years has been this job times ten," Kleiman told SNY's Ian Begley at a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar event on Tuesday night. "Managing athletes in all different cities, managing the family and the enterprises that these athletes become, and knowing all the different players in that world and coming out of it and having everybody talk so highly of you and respect you the way they respect Leon, that's a great start. And for me, it's a home run they were able to get Leon."
There were some rumors that the Knicks had reached out to Kleiman about the job that came after the team fired Steve Mills last week. But he nipped that in the bud, saying the speculation only came from a tweet he sent out years ago.
However, that doesn't mean the dream of one day running the Knicks is dead.
"No accuracy to it, never heard from them," Kleiman said. "It clearly has to do with the fact that two or three years ago I tweeted that I wanted to run the Knicks one day -- and of course, I grew up in New York City. It's hard for me with all of the access that I've gotten to not still be a kid at times and realize that the Knicks were my life growing up.
"So, yeah, it's still a dream of mine but I'm also building a business with Kevin and I think that it's flattering to know that my name was mentioned because at least it justifies some of the work I've done within the world of business and basketball."
As for the current state of the Knicks, Kleiman had nothing but praise for the job interim head coach Mike Miller has been doing since taking over for David Fizdale. In fact, the word he used was "love."
"I actually not just like the job that Mike Miller's doing, I love the job Mike Miller's doing," he explained. "And I was a fan of David Fizdale. I don't try to get caught up in the visceral, I don't try to have reactions to individuals that are working their hardest to try to do their job and who have had success in different times in their career. Mike Miller's doing an incredible job, and by the way this is how Jeff Van Gundy got started."
Speaking of Van Gundy, the Knicks will be looking for a permanent head coach heading into next season. Brand consultant Steve Stoute basically confirmed the team will be looking for a new leader on ESPN's First Take Tuesday, after which the Knicks had to release a statement along with Stoute to retract his statements.
Though Miller has done a fine job, the thought is that Rose will want to hire a more established head coach, which is an area he is very well connected in.
SNY's Ian Begley has sources telling him that some "prominent people at Madison Square Garden" want Miller to stay around within the organization regardless of how the coaching search goes. And Van Gundy has connections with Miller from his time with the Team USA World Cup squad in 2018.
But Kleiman brought up Mark Jackson, a friend of his that has been in connection with the Knicks for years now as a head coach candidate. Jackson is in Rose's circle, and Kleiman believes he could be the right man to lead the Knicks back to their playoff-contending ways of the past.
"Whether it's the Knicks, Timberwolves, Pacers, Clippers, any team, Mark Jackson is, to me, just one of those unique individuals that knows how to lead people, that knows how to inspire people," Kleiman said. "He's got a personality that demands a certain level of attention."
"I think Mike Miller deserves a shot to see this through. He's doing well.