The Knicks needed to move on from the Phil Jackson era. They needed to move on from the Carmelo Anthony era. This season New York did both. Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the reins of the team were turned over to Kristaps Porzingis. The result is a Knicks team hanging around .500, looking like they might make the playoffs, playing its best basketball in years and showing potential going forward.
In the front office, owner James Dolan let Phil Jackson go, promoted Steve Mills and had him bring in Scott Perry as the GM, and so far it’s worked. However, that was not Dolan’s first choice, reports Mitch Lawrence at The Sporting News.
They’ve done it with a new administration led by president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry. They were not team owner James Dolan’s first choice. Dolan had one of his most trusted allies, entertainment executive Irving Azoff, talk to Jerry West to see if the NBA legend wanted to take over for Jackson last June, league sources with knowledge of the discussions told Sporting News. Azoff brought Dolan and Jackson together in 2014, but in this instance, West told Azoff that the time wasn’t right to come to New York. Instead he opted to settle into an advisory role to Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.
West would have been a great get. No doubt. He has proven an invaluable consultant with the Warriors, and has built championship teams with the Lakers. He knows the game.
However, if the management follows Perry’s advice — and if Dolan stays out of basketball operations — the franchise will do well. Perry is a smart GM (he was an assistant in Sacramento over the summer when that franchise made a number of quality moves). What ultimately matters is some form of stability and continuity: Stick with one GM, stick with one style of play, then allow some time to build a roster around that style. Be patient, draft well (stop trading away draft picks, one thing Jackson did right) and let things play out.
We’ll see if Dolan can do that.