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Reports: Knicks plan to hire Leon Rose as new team president

From NBA Twitter and media reports

Two days after parting ways with Steve Mills as team president, the New York Knicks are reportedly poised to hire CAA player agent Leon Rose as their next team president.

Per reports, the Knicks are also strongly considering William “World Wide Wes” Wesley for a position in the Knicks’ organization as well. The pair, per Begley, have a strong relationship. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Knicks are adopting a model that has gained popularity in recent years thanks to the Golden State Warriors (who hired former agent Bob Myers in 2012) and Los Angeles Lakers (who hired former agent Rob Pelinka as GM in 2017).

In a statement released by the Knicks on Thursday, team owner Jim Dolan said the following: “We are actively looking for a new president of the New York Knicks and hope to conclude the search as quickly as possible. I am not selling, but I am determined to find the right leader for the Knicks who will ensure the long-term success of the team, just as we did with the hiring of Rangers president John Davidson.”

Davidson has served as president of the NHL’s New York Rangers since last May. He came to New York after successful stints with the Columbus Blue Jackets (2012-19) and St. Louis Blues (2006-12). He was a former Rangers player from 1978-83 and worked for the MSG Network from 1986 to 2006.

Rose represents several of the top players in the NBA, with a client list that includes Joel Embiid, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns and others. Per Wojnarowski, no formal deal is expected to be announced anytime soon but negotiations should begin soon and end shortly after the Feb. 6 trade deadline.

Mills took over as team president shortly after the team parted ways with former team president Phil Jackson in June of 2017. Under Jackson, the Knicks went 80-166 with zero playoff appearances from 2014-17.

However, the Knicks’ fate wasn’t much better in the Mills era either. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, New York has also failed to make the playoffs and was 46-164 entering this season. At 15-36 this season, the Knicks are essentially out of the Eastern Conference playoff chase again and have had three different coaches (Jeff Hornacek, David Fizdale, Mike Miller) since the summer of 2017.

Hornacek was fired after two seasons on the job (2016-18) while Fizdale lasted even less time. He was fired 22 games into this season and went 17-65 in 2018-19, his lone full season with the team. That tied the worst record in franchise history, but team officials believed a big summer could lead to a quick improvement.

However, they couldn’t sign any of the top free agents despite having enough money to afford two of them, watching as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving instead went to the Brooklyn Nets. Mills then pivoted to sign veteran players to short-term contracts, later insisting those were the players New York was targeting all along.

Mills also oversaw the surprising trade of then-injured former All-Star forward Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks in 2019 and the 2017 trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Knicks did find some promising talent in the Draft while Mills was in his role, unearthing wiry big man Mitchell Robinson with the 36th pick in 2018 and selecting RJ Barrett with the No. 3 pick in 2019.

Overall, the Knicks have made the playoffs five times in the last 20 years, with the last trip coming in 2012-13.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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