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Volume 27 No. 10
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Knicks Official Hiring Of Leon Rose Held Up Due To Paperwork

Dolan on Tuesday fired Steve Mills, who had been the team's President since July '17
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Dolan on Tuesday fired Steve Mills, who had been the team's President since July '17
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Dolan on Tuesday fired Steve Mills, who had been the team's President since July '17
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Knicks are expected to name CAA's Leon Rose their new President of Basketball Operations, but the "holdup in announcing it has to do with the paperwork required" for Rose to "move from an agent to an executive," according to Steve Popper of NEWSDAY (2/7). In N.Y., Dennis Young notes being decertified as an NBA agent is a "lengthy process," so the Knicks will "have nothing official to announce for some time" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/7). ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Knicks Owner James Dolan “has known Leon Rose for years and he has been one of the elite agents in the NBA." Wojnarowski said of Dolan, “When you look at his history of hiring, he tends to go with people he knows and has some of level of history with" (“The Jump,” ESPN, 2/6). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said the hiring of Rose “has to do with the Knicks and Dolan more than it does with (Rose’s) credentials" (“PTI,” ESPN, 2/6).

QUICK TURNAROUND: In N.Y., Deb & Stein note after firing former President Steve Mills, Dolan "wanted to move quickly and hire a player agent rather than pursue an established team builder" like Raptors President Masai Ujiri, one of his "long desired targets" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/7). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, “If you get somebody like Masai Ujiri who’s won a championship, you have to cede a little bit of power or you’re not going to get him. Leon Rose, who’s never won a championship and has been an agent, I don't know how much power he will get" (“PTI,” ESPN, 2/6). SI.com's Chris Mannix writes, "Does anything about this process feel well thought out?" On Tuesday, Dolan fired Mills, his "longtime confidant," and by Thursday, "news of Rose's hire leaked." Within a "matter of days the Knicks fired a top exec and hired a new one." Mannix: "What was the hurry? ... Would taking a couple of months to do a national search have been problematic?" (SI.com, 2/7).

PRESTIGE WORLD WIDE: In N.Y., Howie Kussoy notes the Knicks also are expected to name CAA consultant and "basketball power broker" Wes Wesley to an "undetermined role alongside his longtime friend," Rose. By adding Wesley, the Knicks "will instantly transform their maligned front office into one of the league's most trusted among NBA players." Wesley has "long been considered one of the most powerful people at all levels of basketball," as he "wields an enormous amount of influence behind the scenes" (N.Y. POST, 2/7).

UNFAMILIAR POSITIVE TERRITORY: On Long Island, Barbara Barker writes Rose has the "juice and connections to make the Knicks cool again." Rose bringing Wesley with him could make "quite a powerful, well-connected pair." Rose may be "able to attract the big free agents, but he needs to hire a savvy and experienced talent evaluator to work underneath him." He also "needs to hire someone who can develop young talent, stoke the ego of superstars and handle the media, which isn't always the easiest combination to find" (NEWSDAY, 2/7). The Athletic’s Frank Isola said Rose “fits that corporate model” and he is “good with the media but he keeps his mouth shut and they like that at Madison Square Garden” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 2/6). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes Rose is an "out-of-the-box selection, and one that might even be widely praised" Dolan's track record "wasn't so besmirched." The Rose hire would immediately make the Knicks a "more attractive destination than they were Wednesday, than they were last week, than they have been in decades" (N.Y. POST, 2/7). In Newark, Mike Rosenstein writes Knicks fans "finally might have reason to believe that better days are ahead." Tapping Rose and Wesley to "save the franchise has given Dolan something he hasn't received in quite some time: praise" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 2/7).

FOLLOWING THE NEW WAVE: In N.Y., Marc Berman writes the Knicks looking to hire player agents to front office roles is an "unorthodox move, but one that is trending." Former agents like Warriors President of Basketball Operations & GM Bob Myers and Lakers VP/Basketball Operations & GM Rob Pelinka have "made the transition well." Rose has "always been known for being very media-friendly and now joins an organization that has been criticized for being less than transparent" (N.Y. POST, 2/7).