Report: Knicks “progressing toward” opening contract talks with David Griffin about GM job


There is a long way to go and many questions to be answered, but the Knicks are on the path to doing something smart:

Hiring David Griffin as their new general manager.

From the moment Phil Jackson was let go by Knicks’ owner James Dolan — just a couple of days before the start of free agency — it seemed the smart move was for the Knicks to call up Griffin and talk. Griffin is available because Dan Gilbert didn’t want to pay the going rate and saw the direction of the team differently, that despite Griffin playing a key role in putting together the team that brought Cleveland its first NBA title ever (and Gilbert pissed off LeBron James in the process). Griffin is smart and well respected around the league, the smart thing was for the Knicks to call him up and talk.

Of course, this is the Knicks, so the question is would they do the smart thing? Yes, they did. The sides are at least talking, reports Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

After several conversations and a dinner meeting with franchise executive Steve Mills on Friday, the New York Knicks are progressing toward opening contract negotiations with David Griffin to become the team’s next general manager, league sources told ESPN…

Griffin is also expected to meet with owner James Dolan in the near future, league sources said….

One potential stumbling block to the Knicks’ pursuit of Griffin, league sources said: the willingness of the organization to allow Griffin to bring his own front office and staff into Madison Square Garden. Much of the Knicks’ front office has survived several unsuccessful regimes, and the organization has been hesitant to make sweeping changes to the group, league sources said.

Mills, who was Jackson’s GM and has been Dolan’s trusted man in the front office since 2003, is expected to be the new team president. He was the guy behind New York overpaying for Tim Hardaway Jr. Still, Hardaway fits with the Knicks’ plan to build a young, athletic team around Kristaps Porzingis. Griffin could do that better and faster.

This should be simple, the Knicks should make sweeping changes to the front office. They should hire Griffin and give him nearly unfettered power to make basketball decisions — and let him bring in his loyal staff. The basketball staff the Knicks have had for years has not done the job it’s time for a change (and to keep Dolan out of the basketball side of the building). Griffin would be a quality hire.

It’s the smart thing to do. The question is, will the Knicks do it?