Leon Rose becoming next Knicks president

RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks are on the verge of bringing on CAA player agent Leon Rose as their next president, as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski

This comes just two days after the Knicks parted ways with long-time employee Steve Mills, who took over as team president in 2017 following the departure of Phil Jackson.

Rose, 59, worked for the same agency as New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, representing notable basketball personalities like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Karl-Anthony Towns, and John Calipari. 

The Knicks have been linked in the past with Towns, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ star center, who is a New Jersey native. 

Rose’s close ties with Calipari is also something to keep an eye on. Knicks owner James Dolan’s reasoning for finding a president so quickly was to help conduct a head-coaching search come season’s end. 

That took the Knicks out of the running for Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who Dolan has long been interested in bringing to Madison Square Garden. 

It also provides a sizable blow to Mike Miller’s chances of shedding the label of the interim head coach and receiving a promotion. 

Rose’s connections to notable names around the game is only one aspect of bringing legitimacy to a dysfunctional Knicks franchise. 

His ability to run a front office remains to be seen, which is a sizeable gamble for an organization that has been seen as a laughing stock by the rest of the NBA. 

In Queens, Van Wagenen provides a small sample of what could be expected. Entering his second season as Mets general manager, he helped build an 86-win team that was on the verge of playoff contention. However, he also dealt one of the team’s top prospects in Jarred Kelenic for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano. Both struggled mightily upon their arrivals to Queens.

Rose is entering a situation where there isn’t such a promising foundation set. The Knicks lack a true direction with a hodgepodge of promising youngsters and veterans on team-friendly deals that seem like placeholders for stars that might never come. 

New York came up empty in a loaded free agency class last summer, whiffing on Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard, amongst others.