Blogtable: Thoughts on New York Knicks new front office
Each week, we ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
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The Knicks have chosen Steve Mills and Scott Perry to be the new stewards of their front office. What do you make of these moves?
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David Aldridge: I know there’s not a lot of enthusiasm for Mills in New York, given that he was pretty tied into the Phil Jackson regime and has been able to survive numerous front office changes without much on-court success to justify it. But I know and like Steve, and I think he’s a better basketball guy than people believe. You may not agree, for example, with his explanation of why he felt so strongly about giving Tim Hardaway $71 million for four years, but at least he had a legit argument to make — the Knicks think Hardaway will live up to $17.75 million per year, which is not an outrageous salary these days for a solid two guard. (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will make more with the Lakers next season, for example. So will Wesley Matthews in Dallas.)
And I really like Scott Perry. He is one of those guys who can talk with anyone and has a great rapport with everyone. Just look at how quickly the perception of the Kings as a free agent destination changed within weeks of his arrival there. He’s waited 18 years for a chance to run a team; I think that’s enough time on deck. Mills and Perry will have to resolve Carmelo first, of course, and that’s how many will judge their abilities. Unfair, but that’s life in the big city.
Steve Aschburner: Uh, seriously lacking in sizzle? Then again, maybe a little dull is what the Knicks need after the high-profile (if low-availability) Zen Master generated far more drama than development or improvement of New York’s basketball operation. It’s a tough media market in which to Rope-A-Dope the tabloids’ scribblers, and Carmelo Anthony always is a soap opera waiting to happen. But the Knicks’ greatest need is some tranquility in which Kristaps Porzingis and other prospects can work in relative quiet and thrive. Assuming owner James Dolan doesn’t crash into the china more than once or twice, Mills and Perry might be the right guys at the right transitioning time.
Shaun Powell: This doesn’t appear to be a slam-dunk, no-doubt pairing. That’s not to say it won’t work. But both are bringing questions. Does Mills, a long-time company man, have the guts to stand up to James Dolan if and when the owner interferes with the process, especially concerning Carmelo Anthony? How much was Perry responsible for the mess made in Orlando during his time as an assistant there, and will that pattern continue in New York? I do like the fact that Perry is a front office grinder, which is what the Knicks need to pull themselves out of the darkness.
John Schuhmann: Success and failure in the NBA begins at the top and this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen an attempted reset under James Dolan. Hiring Scott Perry was a good move, but he still has to answer to two guys who have been around (and partially responsible) for the dysfunction of the last three years. Time will tell how much of a reset this really was.
Sekou Smith: Steve Mills has been around the Knicks seemingly forever, so elevating him back into that role as team president after the departure of Phil Jackson isn’t much of a game changer in my opinion. Adding the well-respected Scott Perry as general manager, however, is one of the best moves the Knicks have made in years. Having someone in that role with a complete understanding of what it means to build a culture in today’s NBA is crucial. He has a firm handle on the game from the grassroots level all the way up to the truly elite level, and that sort of connection and the relationship building that comes along with it is vital in this new age. Perry has worked masterfully behind the scenes in the NBA for years, garnering universal respect among NBA insiders even if the casual fan doesn’t know his name or face. Quite frankly, the Knicks could use a little less hype and a lot more of what Perry brings to the party.
Ian Thomsen: The Knicks have gone through several front-office regimes, each promising a new way of attacking the job, and in 17 years they have won one playoff series. To repeat: One postseason series victory for a franchise of unbeatable resources. And so the very best wishes go out to Mills and Perry, with the understanding that they are the latest to take on institutional problems that have proved to be far more insidious than the makeup of the roster or the style of play.
Lang Whitaker: To me, it’s a bit of a misnomer to say Mills is a “new steward” of the front office, since he’s worked for the Knicks in one form or another for years, but Perry should definitely bring a new outlook. The only question, though, is which Perry is coming to New York? Because as good as Sacramento looked after their moves the last few months with Perry on board, Perry was also a voice in the room in Orlando as they aggressively treaded water the last few years. No matter what happens, if Mills and Perry are able to get the Knicks on a track where they show tangible growth, all the noise that comes along with their jobs will go out the window.