Knicks Mailbag: What would you do as the team’s GM?

Ian Bagley did a mailbag at SNY and he had an interesting question about what he would do if he were made GM of the Knicks with a relatively long term contract:

@Bennie_Blanco: Play the GM role and tell us what moves you would make to improve next season
How many years do I have on my contract? If I have long-term job security, I’m using my picks to draft players, continuing to try to find a strong young core to build around and one that’s attractive to free agents. If I’m on a short-term deal, I would, selfishly, take more of a ‘quick fix’ approach to try to get this team in the playoffs ASAP so I can keep my job.

For argument’s sake, let’s say I have a five-year deal with a team option for the fifth season.

In that case, I’d look for a lead guard who can knock shots down with my lottery pick. I think this type of guard can benefit Robinson and Barrett. I’d also look for a perimeter shooter/big man who can shoot later in the draft (New York has a late first-round pick and early second-round pick).

Again, I’m thinking of benefitting Barrett and Robinson – and balancing out my roster – with these selections.

I’d use my cap space this summer to do one of the following: trade for an unwanted contract and acquire draft picks/young players in the deal; overpay for a young player in free agency by offering a big-money, short-term contract; if OKC will agree to a deal that doesn’t include future draft picks or Barrett/Robinson, trade for Chris Paul and see if he is open to restructuring his contract (if it’s allowed under the next CBA). Getting Paul on the roster will jumpstart the Knicks’ effort to build a winning culture and benefit New York’s young players exponentially, I think.

No one on my roster would be totally off limits in trade talks. If the opportunity to trade for a young, ascendant star presented itself, I’d be open to packaging picks/young players to get the deal done.

Lastly, depending on how the offseason goes, I would sell my roster on the idea of trying to make the playoffs in 2020-21. This, ideally, would engender a winner’s mentality among the young Knicks. But I wouldn’t be upset if we ended up in strong lottery position again in 2021, when the draft is expected to include several talented players.

I think some of those ideas are a bit contrary to each other (“I’d take on players for draft picks, but also trade for Chris Paul’s gigantic contract without getting anything in return”), but for the most part, I think Begley’s take on the future of the team is reasonable enough.

What do you folks think about his ideas? Knicks hire CAA’s William Wesley to advisory role

From Woj:

The New York Knicks have hired CAA’s William Wesley as executive vice president/senior basketball adviser, the team announced Wednesday.

Wesley has been a consultant in the coaching division of CAA for 13 years and has a long professional and personal relationship with new Knicks president Leon Rose.

Rose and Wesley worked together at CAA and have a history back to their starts in New Jersey.

“My long history with and respect for Jim Dolan and Leon Rose, as well as the chance to be part of the New York Knicks, made this an opportunity I wanted to pursue,” Wesley said in a statement. “I look forward to joining the current staff and moving the organization toward a successful future.”

Known as World Wide Wes in basketball circles, Wesley is considered one of the great connectors and relationship builders in the sport. Wesley joins a front office that includes Rose, general manager Scott Perry and chief strategist Brock Aller.

Rose said in a statement that Wesley is “one of the most well-connected and respected people in the basketball community and he will be a tremendous asset and resource to both myself and the New York Knicks.”

This had been rumored at the time that Rose was hired, but was premature at the time since Wesley was under contract with CAA at the time.

It’s probably a meaningless hire either way. He has worked with Rose for years, so it makes sense Rose would bring a guy with him.

I don’t think it means that the Knicks will starfuck any more than they were already going to starfuck (which could be a lot no matter what).

Knicks Realize They Are Interviewing Too Many Good Head Coaching Candidates, Add Jason Kidd and Mike Brown to the Mix

As noted, the Knicks had put together a compelling list of head coaching candidates, where only Thibs and Mike Woodson were typical retread candidates. Their list of candidates was really intriguing and taken by many, including me, as a good sign that Leon Rose might actually know what he’s doing.

So the Knicks have realized that that list wasn’t Knicksy enough and have now added Jason Kidd and Mike Brown to the list.

What’s funny is that if you’ve foolishly latched on to some silly “Thibs must be a good coach! Just look at his career winning percentage!” argument, then you’d certainly have to say that Mike Brown is even more impressive, as he has an even higher career winning percentage than Thibs (and he took a second team to the playoffs and won a playoff series, which is more than Thibs has done). And they both have Coach of the Year awards. But luckily, most of us get how stupid “Just look at his winning percentage!” sounds, or else we’d be pushing for Tyronn Lue, who also has a higher winning percentage than Thibs and is the only one of the three coaches (Thibs, Brown and Lue) to have won a title as a coach.

The rumor with Kidd is that the Knicks think that he would help them with Giannis. That sure sounds like one of the dumbest, Knicksy thing, huh?

I’m going to assume/hope that these two new additions to the now ten-person interview list don’t mean much, but hey, ya never know. Sources: Kyrie Irving plays key role in Friday call with players

From Woj:

When the National Basketball Players Association conducted a conference call and vote on restarting the season a week ago, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving was an active participant — although his questions were of a mundane nature.

Sources say Irving asked, as an injured player, if he would count among the Nets’ allotted 35 people should he want to join the Orlando, Florida, bubble. Could he sit in the stands to cheer on his teammates? Use a sauna for his rehab?

He had a question about NBA sponsors on campus, and whether they would be supplying players with products. A union official asked him for an example, and Irving mentioned a popular adult beverage — before insisting that he had indeed simply shared an example — and wondered what food might be provided to players under league partnerships.

All in all, his inquiries weren’t of weighty consequence.

There were two dozen-plus team representatives and several more executive committee members on the call, and Irving’s stature as one of the NBPA’s six elected vice presidents, in addition to his credentials as an NBA champion and All-Star Game MVP, elevated him among those peers voting on the call. The final tally: 28-0.

Looking back, the call itself was much less a discussion on the merits of restarting the season, and much more a Q&A with NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and president Chris Paul on the mechanics and rules expected to govern teams, players and the bubble environment, sources said.

So, yes, it surprised several of his NBPA colleagues that Irving — lost for the season with shoulder surgery in March — was simultaneously lending his voice to a far different discussion with rank-and-file union members on upending the league’s plans for a 22-team restart at Disney World in Orlando, sources said.

On a call that included nearly 100 players and several stars on Friday night, Irving made an impassioned plea for players to make a stand and sit out the season’s resumption in Orlando, sources said. Around 90 minutes in length, the call included several players suggesting they’d be willing to sit out the season — and numerous more discussing social issues, league economics and, ultimately, a sense that they needed to be united in a decision.

Where it leads the NBA now remains unclear. Even after the call, there was still a belief within the league that the NBA would have the players’ support it needed to resume the season, but no one could be as sure as they seemed to be a mere week ago.

What a fascinating turn of events. With Lebron pushing players to support re-opening, I would bet on that side ultimately winning, but it’s interesting to see what will happen here. Knicks’ parent company Madison Square Garden issues statement weeks after George Floyd’s killing

From Malika Andrews:

Eight days after Knicks owner James Dolan sent an email to the staff explaining why the Madison Square Garden Co. would not publicly comment on the outrage following George Floyd’s death, the company has issued a statement.

On Tuesday, the Knicks team account tweeted a statement from the Madison Square Garden sports and entertainment companies, saying “Every one of us has a role to play in creating a more just and equal society, where there is no racism, bigotry, violence or hate. We stand with all who act for positive change.”

The statement comes the same day as Floyd’s funeral in Houston. Floyd, who was black, was killed by a white police officer on May 25. Since then, protests have erupted across the country and several government officials have made commitments to adjust local laws. In New York, mayor Bill de Blasio said he will reallocate some New York Police Department funding to social and youth services.


To wait this long and for that to be their statement is so hilariously bad. Does interim head coach Mike Miller have a future with the Knicks?

Interesting stuff from Ian Begley:

After taking over for David Fizdale, interim head coach Mike MIller coached the Knicks to a 17-27 record before their season was paused in mid-March and is now over. They were still under the .500 mark with Miller, but the team showed considerable improvement.

But now that Leon Rose is in control, it’s likely that he’ll look to bring in “his guy” to be the team’s head coach, whether that’s Tom Thibodeau or someone else.

So where does that leave Miller?

In response to a Knicks mailbag question, SNY’s Ian Begley explains that Miller is still expected to interview for the head coaching job, and even if he doesn’t land it, there are some in the organization who would like to see Miller stay with the team, either as an assistant coach or in a different front office role.

The video was a follow-up to an earlier mailbag where Begley disagreed with a reader who suggested hiring Miller just so that they could tank next season ahead of the much better 2021 Draft Class and then hire their coach of the future. Begley thinks that that wouldn’t work very well, as he thinks that the players wouldn’t respect a coach that they knew was a lame duck coach. However, I think he felt that he made it seem like Miller wasn’t a serious candidate for the job, so he issued this video to clarify.

So far, only Thibs, Atkinson, Miller and Mike Woodson have been announced as being interviewed for the Knicks coaching gig, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a fifth candidate was looked at, as well. Sources: NBA to approve plan for 22-team return with eight regular-season games

From Woj (although, apparently Shams had the scoop first):

The NBA’s board of governors intends to approve a league proposal on a 22-team format to restart the season in Orlando, Florida, sources told ESPN.

The conference call and vote is set for 12:30 p.m. ET Thursday, sources said.

Commissioner Adam Silver and the league’s advisory/finance committee have shared the broad details of a plan with teams to play at the Walt Disney World Resort, sources said. The plan includes 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, eight regular-season games, a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed, and playoffs, sources said.

The top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in the two conferences — New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento, Phoenix and Washington, sources said.

The play-in tournament will include the No. 8 and No. 9 teams — if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth, sources said. In that case, the No. 8 seed enters a double-elimination tournament and the No. 9 seed a single-elimination tournament, sources said.

Teams will begin training at team sites in July and advance to full training camps in Orlando later that month, sources said.

Among the eight teams left out of the Orlando format, several are disappointed and concerned about how a nine-month window between NBA games affects their teams competitively and financially, sources said.

What a freaking weird ass way of handling this, no? So, they’re going to have regular season games, but the bottom eight teams in the league won’t be participating? So how are they regular season games if you’ve eliminated eight teams? I mean, I get the idea, which is that the league can sell more marquee match-ups in those final eight regular season games to help hype up the playoffs (while getting the playoff performers into shape), but it is still weird to see eight teams not participating while a “regular season” goes on for well over a week!

Obviously, we all know the real reason behind this, which is to do whatever they can do to possibly get Zion Williamson into the playoffs. And honestly, I can’t begrudge them about that. This set-up is not a terrible idea in general (the idea of a play-in game to give the teams like Portland and San Antonio a chance so that Dame Lillard will actually show up), but I just wish the other eight teams got to participate.

This, of course, also means that, hilariously enough, the Knicks did, in fact, lock in the #6 spot in the lottery by virtue of winning the final game of the season. Knicks gotta Knicks. One more #8 pick for the road!

Anyhow, this should be fun to watch. Heck, ANY sports would be fun to watch right now.