Is Knicks’ Leon Rose the runaway favorite to win NBA Executive of the Year?

NBA: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have more than just their exceptional roster to thank for clinching the No. 2 seed in the NBA Eastern Conference.

Knicks president Leon Rose did a masterful job at constructing a winning roster this offseason and improving their unit through savvy moves leading up to and at the trade deadline. Have his transactions made him the clear-cut favorite to win the 2024 Executive of the Year award?

Knicks: Leon Rose’s offseason acquisition of Donte DiVincenzo created a domino effect of season-altering moves

Rose’s legwork started with his acquisition of shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo this offseason. He penned DiVincenzo to a four-year, $50 million deal this summer. The Villanova product has been the Knicks’ most impactful role player in 2023-24.

His franchise record-setting 283 three-pointers this season came in large part after earning favor from Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau early in the year and revitalizing their floor spacing. DiVincenzo was a cost-effective addition that gifted New York with a fringe 20-point-per-game scorer when given ample touches.

Rose changed the Knicks’ outlook on both ends with the OG Anunoby trade

Rose made a splash prior to the deadline by trading RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa among other assets.

Anunoby did nothing but set a record for the highest +/- in a player’s first 13 games with a franchise. His presence directly led to a 12-2 winning stretch in the month of January and he’s amped up their perimeter defense to championship level. Achiuwa mustered up career-highs in rebounds (7.2 rebounds per game) and blocks (1.1 BPG) while scoring his 7.6 points on 52.5% shooting from the floor.

Knicks’ deadline deal for Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks may bear fruit later than expected

At the Feb. 8 deadline, the Knicks’ front office head stole the show by bringing in Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Evan Fournier and Quentin Grimes while unloading Fournier’s remaining $37 million that was weighing their cap structure down.

While both sharpshooters have not been as effective in New York as they were in Detroit, their presence has remedied the Knicks’ three-point needs. They are in line for crucial roles this postseason, particularly in Bogdanovic’s case, with All-Star Julius Randle out for the remainder of the year with a dislocated shoulder.

On top of all that, Rose has formulated a supporting cast around Jalen Brunson that has allowed the first-time All-Star to flourish as their new franchise player. Without Brunson’s borderline MVP play, the Knicks wouldn’t be close to where they are at looking ahead toward the playoffs.

READ MORE: Knicks avoid easier playoff path as they clinch No. 2 seed out East

Rose has stockpiled a favorable pot of draft picks for the next several seasons & has the Knicks primed for another star acquisition

Monetarily, the Knicks are $30 million over the cap this year and $4 million over for next season’s anticipated $141 million cap. In spite of that, they’re in line to re-up OG Anunoby, who recently raved about the team ahead of his free agency this summer.

Most notably, the Knicks have eight first-round draft picks in the next three years alone. They have perhaps the wealthiest draft stock among all teams for the foreseeable future and also have a short list of All-Star players they can acquire via trade or free agency as soon as this summer, including Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.

Rose seems fitting for the award but will have Boston Celtics general manager Brad Stevens and Milwaukee Bucks GM Jon Horst at his heels.

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