New York Knicks: Kyle O’Quinn raves about Leon Rose and his hiring

New York Knicks, Leon Rose

The New York Knicks are entering a new age of basketball, headed by new general manager Leon Rose. Formally a super-agent in the NBA, Rose has connections with some of the best players in the league. That might be a draw to New York, a place that has been left off high profile free agent’s lists in recent years due to the calamity and inadequate play.

However, one former Knick, Kyle O’Quinn, believes that he will do great things in the city of New York:

“I said it when he first got the job; I seen him in Philly and I said, ‘You’ll do great things,’” O’Quinn said while appearing on SNY’s The Putback with Ian Begley this week. “And I know he will because of his personality, his demeanor and how he is charismatically with his players…. I think that will go through the organization pretty well and he has the personality to get through to guys.”

Rose was initially hired back in February and has spent the last few months building his front office and management portfolio. He has made several moves and could embark on big ones like trading Julius Randle.

“I think New York will always be in the discussion when you have a free agent target simply because New York is New York,” O’Quinn said. “But I think until it’s a situation where (you say) ‘OK, I can blueprint off this. I know I can play for that coach, and this, that and the third. I don’t think that New York will get the respect it deserves in free agency from these big players until those kinds of things happen.”

The Knicks brought in Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach, who is a respected man around the league with a pedigree of success. Their coaching staff is composed of premium talent, which hopefully will draw bigger names to the Big Apple. Nonetheless, the Knicks have made egregious signings before, notably Phil Jackson and his triangle offense installation.

Turning the page to the next chapter in Knicks’ history is essential, and reverting back to losing ways would only further sink fans into a state of basketball depression. O’Quinn believes that Rose can elevate the organization from the ashes like a phoenix.

Wide-open NBA Draft favors Knicks, says college basketball analyst

New York Knicks, Killian Hayes

Even without a top-three pick, there’s a chance the New York Knicks could still end up with the best player in this year’s NBA Draft.

That’s the belief of former St. John’s head coach turned ESPN college analyst Fran Fraschilla when he appeared on Michael Kay Show over the weekend.

“First of all, there’s no clear-cut no.1, there’s no consensus no.1, there’s no clear-cut NBA superstar in this Draft just yet but I will remind you guys that this is like 2013 when Anthony Bennett went no.1 and there was a kid by the name of (Giannis) Antetokounmpo that was taken No.15 by the Milwaukee Bucks.  Now, there’s nobody like that in this draft but quite honestly, I don’t care if you’re picking 1, 2, 3 all the way down to 15, you can get a guy, the Knicks can find somebody at eight [pick] that could end up being the best player in this Draft,” Fraschilla said.

The Knicks’ current roster has glaring holes everywhere, but with team president Leon Rose viewing last season lottery pick RJ Barrett and rim protector Mitchell Robinson as cornerstones of the franchise, the growing belief is that the most pressing concern is finding a lead point guard.

Whether they can find that player in the Draft, in the free agency or within the current roster, is a matter of internal debate according to a source familiar with the Knicks’ front office thinking.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported earlier today that the Knicks, along with the Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons, are among the teams expected to bid for Toronto Raptors breakout star Fred Van Vleet, the top point guard in an underwhelming free-agent class.

The Knicks currently have a point guard rotation of Elfrid Payton, Frank Nkitilina, and Dennis Smith, Jr., all former lottery picks, who have not panned out.  But after acquiring Kenny Payne and Johnnie Bryant to join Tom Thibodeau’s staff, the sense is that they will attempt to develop their current players to get more value on the court and possibly in the trade market.

LaMelo Ball, who is the Knicks’ top point guard in their board as early as May, is not expected to drop outside the top three.  The team has also conducted an interview with Killian Hayes, the top playmaker among international prospects. The Knicks, in typical Rose’s fashion, is doing their due diligence and is said to be considering all options.

Several mock drafts have yielded different results for the Knicks at no.8, bolstering Fraschilla’s observation.

Under normal circumstances, the Knicks and the other 29 teams could have a better grasp of most of their targets in the NCAA tournament and validate that intel during their in-person workouts and interviews. But even if they missed out on that, Fraschilla believes that some teams have already pegged the best players in their boards.

“Hopefully, Rose and the Knicks are one of those teams but there are kids who are going to be available at eight —Tyrese Haliburton, Onyeka Okongwu, Saddiq Bey.  There are guys that are gonna be hanging around in this draft that could end up at eight being the best player in this Draft,” Fraschilla said.  “The Knicks just have to find that guy.”

It is interesting to note that Haliburton is being represented by CAA while Okongwu and Bey are with Excel Sports.

In recent memory, the Knicks have been unlucky at no.8.  Since 2005, they have taken three players with the eight pick— Channing Frye (2005), Jordan Hill (2009), and Nkitilina (2017)— without much success.

Can Rose turn the Knicks’ lottery pick into a ‘Lucky 8’ this time?

Fraschilla is optimistic: “There’s a new regime. I’m confident that these guys know what they’re doing.”


Devin Vassell ‘has some fans’ in the New York Knicks organization

New York Knicks, Devin Vassell

The New York Knicks will select eighth in the 2020 NBA Draft after falling two spots in Thursday night’s draft lottery.

According to Ian Begley of SNY, Florida State wing Devin Vassell “has some fans” in the Knicks organization.

Vassell, a two-year player at Florida State, saw his minutes spike last season, going from 10.7 minutes in his freshman season to 28.8 minutes per contest in his sophomore season. Last season he started all 30 games he appeared in.

Vassell averaged 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals and one block per game while shooting 49.0 percent from the field, 41.5 percent from beyond the arc and 73.8 percent from the free throw line in his sophomore season.

The Knicks will select in the top 10 of the NBA Draft for the fourth consecutive year. Last year they selected Duke wing RJ Barrett with the third pick; the year prior they selected Kentucky forward Kevin Knox with the ninth pick; in 2017 they selected French point guard Frank Ntilikina with the eighth pick.

The Knicks have three selections in this year’s draft: their own first-round pick, the Los Angeles Clippers’ first rounder (27) and the Charlotte Hornets’ second rounder (38).

Wings who could be available at eight include Vassell, Deni Avdija, Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, Villanova’s Saddiq Bey and Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith.

Another option for the Knicks is selecting a lead guard at eight. Guards who could be available at eight include Killian Hayes, UNC’s Cole Anthony, Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey and Alabama’s Kira Lewis.

New team president Leon Rose stated that Barrett and center Mitchell Robinson are “two young core pieces.” Rose and the Knicks hired former Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau to patrol the team’s sideline. They’ve added former Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne and former Utah Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant to Thibodeau’s staff.

The NBA Draft is scheduled to take place on Oct. 16.

Can Leon Rose turn New York Knicks pick to ‘Lucky 8’?

New York Knicks, Leon Rose

There was no beginner’s luck for New York Knicks team president Leon Rose.

Not even a lucky bracelet with the inscription “We Are One” from their cancer-stricken super fan Antonio Sellers could help Rose break the team’s Draft Lottery curse Thursday night.

Armed with the sixth-best chance to win the Lottery, the Knicks struck out anew and even fell two spots down. They settled with the eight pick, extending their long streak of not moving up in the NBA Draft to 17.

Minnesota grabbed the chance to select at No. 1 with Golden State, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Detroit to pick ahead of New York.

With a Draft Class relatively weaker than the previous years and with the absence of personal workouts due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it’s going to be a tricky selection process.

This early, the Timberwolves and the Warriors are hinting that they are not closing their doors on trading their picks.

“We have an open mind as we go through all of this,” Minnesota team president Gersson Rosas per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “We want to do what’s best for this organization. And it means being thorough, being diligent and looking at every option. Draft, trade, free agency, whatever the case may be.”

The Warriors, meanwhile, don’t have any idea yet what to do or what can they get in return for their second pick.

“We don’t really know anything at this point…I have no idea what the value is for that pick… We don’t entirely control the draft but all we have to like is two guys to be happy,” Warriors GM Bob Myers per 97.5 The Game.

This gives the Knicks a chance to move up for LaMelo Ball, the top point guard in their Draft Board. But everything will still depend if they can come up with the package that these teams in win-now mode would be looking for.

There’s also a scenario where they can attach the eight pick in a package for larger trade to get a disgruntled star or a solid veteran that can move the needle. 

Rose has been prudent and calculating with his recent front office moves and coaching hires. It is expected that he will do the same with his first Draft.

Even if they stand pat, they still can get a point guard at eight pick. With Ball and top international prospect Killian Hayes likely to be picked early, the Knicks can settle with the likes of Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, Duke standout, and ex-Knick Greg Anthony’s son Cole Anthony or Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey.

They can also opt for the next best available talent regardless of position.

Rose will have multiple options, and this is where his assistant GM and lead college scout Walter Perrin’s intel becomes valuable. Perhaps Perrin can find another hidden gem in the mold of a Gordon Hayward (2010 9th pick) or a Donovan Mitchell (2017 13th pick) from the Draft.

Rose may have run out of luck in the Lottery, but the lawyer-agent turned basketball executive knows how to grind and hustle to get what he wants.

Leon Rose hopes to break New York Knicks Draft Lottery curse

New York Knicks, LaMelo Ball

Leon Rose’s rise to power in New York to become the Knicks president was built on pure hustle. But in one of the early tests of his leadership, the rookie executive will have to rely on beginner’s luck.

Tasked to lead the uphill climb of the moribund franchise, Rose hopes he could start cutting the string of bad luck beginning with the NBA Draft Lottery tonight.

Rose will represent the Knicks on the virtual lottery “dais’’ via Zoom, which will be aired at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN from the NBA headquarters in Secaucus, New Jersey.

The Knicks have struck out in the NBA Draft Lottery since picking Patrick Ewing as the No. 1 overall pick in 1985. That could change tonight if Rose proves to be the team’s lucky charm.

With the sixth-worst record (21-45) in the pandemic-shortened regular season, New York has a nine percent chance of winning the lottery trailing only Golden State, Cleveland, Minnesota, Atlanta, and Detroit.

They also have 27.6 percent chance of moving into the top three.

In an NBA Draft that is lacking in consensus top pick, the Knicks are hoping to move up to be able to land an impact talent to either add to their young core or use as trade bait.

Top point guard LaMelo Ball, wingman Anthony Edwards, and big man James Wiseman are expected to figure in a three-way race for the top pick with the decision most likely to go down in terms of fit and need.

“It’s interesting, this draft, there’s a couple of guys that might stand out, and after that, I think there’s a lot of equality,’’ Rose said in his first interview with MSG Network in June.

“I think there’s a lot of guys that are close with different skill sets, different positives, different negatives. It’s funny, each scout, there are varying opinions. A lot more varying opinions than in past years,” he added.

Without the benefit of personal workouts due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Knicks will have to rely on the intel from their scouts and from their new assistant general manager, Walter Perrin, who is expected to have a strong voice in their war room along with current GM Scott Perry.  Perrin, the long-time Jazz executive, is widely credited for Utah’s solid picks in the past.

It appears that the Knicks are going all-in with player development judging on their recent assistant coaching hires (Kenny Payne and Johnnie Bryant). So there is a great chance that they will hold on to their lottery pick unless a trade that can advance their timeline comes up.

If they strike out anew, they might explore trading up or choose the next best available talent that fits their needs. Outside the looming top three picks, there’s still plenty of options from the group which Rose said to have parity in quality.

Deni Advija, Onyeka Okongwu, Precious Achiuwa, Killian Hayes, Obi Toppin Isaac Okoru, Cole Anthony, Tyrese Haliburton, and Devin Vassell could still be available by the time the they make their pick.

The Knicks have a total of three picks in this year’s Draft. On top of its lottery pick, they have the 27th pick in the first round via Los Angeles Clippers (from Marcus Morris deadline trade) and Charlotte’s 38th pick in the second round.

New York Knicks: Leon Rose mum on team’s future plans

New York Knicks, Leon Rose

The New York Knicks held an introductory press conference for new head coach Tom Thibodeau on Thursday. Thibodeau, president Leon Rose and general manager Scott Perry took questions from the media.

Rose, the Knicks new president, says the organization has “not set a timeline” while noting that Thibodeau can help make them “a perennial winner” (quotes per Marc Berman of the New York Post).

“We have not set a timeline. We are taking it one day at a time. We felt Tom was that coach who can take us with development to becoming a perennial winner. That happens one step at a time,” Rose said. “At the moment we don’t know what the roster will be moving forward. We have decisions we have to make. The important thing is to instill the culture, focus on the development and take it from there.”

With Thibodeau in the fold, the onus for the Knicks now shifts to rounding out a coaching staff (Mike Woodson is reportedly expected to join Thibodeau’s coaching staff) and the NBA offseason.

The Knicks have three selections in the 2020 NBA Draft: their own first and second-round pick and the Los Angeles Clippers’ first-round pick. They acquired the Clippers first rounder as part of a midseason trade that sent Marcus Morris to the West Coast.

New York is sixth in the NBA lottery, which takes place on Aug. 20, and owns the eighth selection in the second round (38). They have reportedly interviewed and/or shown interest in guards RJ Hampton, Cole Anthony and Killian Hayes and wings Deni Avdija and Jay Scrubb.

New York has team options on Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock for the 2020-21 NBA season. In the scenario those options are declined, the Knicks could have roughly $60 million in cap space in the offseason.

New York Knicks: Mike Woodson expected to join Tom Thibodeau’s staff

New york Knicks, Mike Woodson

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, former New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is expected to join Tom Thibodeau’s coaching staff for the 2020-21 NBA season.

The Knicks announced Thibodeau’s hiring on Thursday morning. The former Knicks assistant is the 31st head coach in franchise history.

Steve Popper of Newsday tweets that Rick Brunson, Daisuke Yoshimoto and former interim head coach Mike Miller are also under consideration to join Thibodeau’s coaching staff.

Woodson was the Knicks head coach from 2012-14. He was promoted to the position in March 2012 in the wake of head coach Mike D’Antoni’s resignation. Woodson joined D’Antoni’s staff for the 2011-12 NBA season.

The Knicks made the playoffs in the first two seasons with Woodson at the helm. In 2012 they lost to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. The ensuing season they were the second seed in the Eastern Conference (54-28), beating the Boston Celtics in the first round and losing to the Indiana Pacers in the second round.

Woodson was fired in 2014 after the Knicks went 37-45, missing the playoffs by one game. Owner James Dolan hired Phil Jackson to be the team’s president five weeks before Woodson was axed.

Woodson was the Atlanta Hawks head coach from 2004-10, making the playoffs in his final three seasons. Prior to coaching Atlanta, Woodson was an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons. He was most recently an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers under head coach Doc Rivers from 2014-18.

New York fired head coach David Fizdale in December 2019, subsequently promoting Mike Miller. President Steve Mills was fired in February and replaced by former agent Leon Rose. The Knicks have hired Tom Thibodeau (head coach), William Wesley (executive vice president/senior basketball advisor) and Walt Perrin (assistant general manager) under Rose.

Woodson was a member of Creative Artists Agency, which was previously administered by Rose.

New York Knicks officially hire Tom Thibodeau as head coach

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

The New York Knicks announced on Thursday morning that they’ve hired Tom Thibodeau to be the 31st head coach in franchise history.

Team president Leon Rose calls Thibodeau a “proven winner” who brings “leadership” to the table.

“Tom Thibodeau is a proven winner who gets the most out of the players and teams that he has coached,” said Leon Rose, president, New York Knicks. “He will bring leadership, accountability and a hard-working mentality to our organization. We are excited to bring him back to New York and look forward to collaborating with him and his staff toward a successful future.”

Thibodeau says he’s “grateful” for the opportunity to coach the Knicks.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to this historic franchise as head coach and work alongside a talented front office that I have great trust in and respect for,” said Thibodeau. “I know what New York is like when the Knicks are successful and there is nothing comparable. I look forward to being a part of what we are building here and can’t wait to get to work.”

Thibodeau was most recently the head coach and president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2016-19. Prior to patrolling the sidelines in Minnesota, Thibodeau was the head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 2010-15, where he won Coach of the Year honors in 2011.

Thibodeau has 20 seasons of experience as an assistant coach under his belt split between the Knicks, Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics.

The Knicks fired head coach David Fizdale 22 games into the 2019-20 NBA regular season (4-18) and promoted assistant Mike Miller. As interim head coach, Miller went 17-27.

President Steve Mills was fired in February and replaced by Leon Rose, who has retained general manager Scott Perry while hiring Walt Perrin as assistant general manager, William Wesley as executive vice president/senior basketball advisor and Tom Thibodeau as head coach.

Could New York Knick Fans Derail The Current Front Office And Head Coach Alignment?

New York Knicks, James Dolan

The New York Knicks been probing the National Basketball Association for a head coach for roughly two decades. Even though the hiring of Tom Thibodeau dragged for seven weeks, the franchise been running through head coaches and assistant coaches since the resignation of Jeff Van Gundy nineteen games into the 2001-02 NBA season.

Current Knick President Leon Rose was a former agent with Creative Artists Agency, and Tom Thibodeau was one of his clients. Leon Rose hired long time acquaintance William Wesley as the Executive Vice President. William Wesley, also known as “World Wide Wes”, was called a goodwill ambassador by John Calipari in regards to the University of Kentucky’s basketball program.

William Wesley was a well-connected consultant for Creative Artists Agency before being hired as an executive for the Knicks. With all the strong connections between the front office and the head coach, could Knick fans derail this current front office and head coach alignment?

There’s an old saying that states “pressure busts pipes”. When the Knicks are losing, Madison Square Garden becomes a microwave to certain players who melt under MSG’s bright lights in the presence of displeased die-hard fans who spent their hard-earned money on a Knicks ticket.

James Dolan has a history of making changes based on negative press and displeasure from the fan base. Growing pains are expected during the process of relevancy, however, it would be in James Dolan’s best interest not to overreact to a few bumps along the way to become a good basketball team.

If Dolan learned anything from the past, one thing that’s crucial is the stability of an organization. A culture of stability can catapult the Knicks from decades of losing into decades of winning. Stabilization of a work atmosphere and franchise will allow the front office to make sound decisions. It will even trickle down to the Knick players on the basketball court in a positive way.

Overall, it’s a great hire by the New York Knicks. Coach Tom Thibodeau is a man who has no time for lack of effort especially on the defensive side of the ball. His prior head coaching tenures didn’t work partially due to lack of cohesion with prior front offices.

It appears now that Thibodeau, Leon Rose, and William Wesley are on the same page. Turnover is going to happen as it always does with a new president. However, the Knick front office and head coach seems to have some remanence of stability. New York Knick fans have every right to be optimistic about the direction of the franchise under the new regime.

Jason Kidd the frontrunner to be the New York Knicks head coach

New York Knicks, Jason Kidd

According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Jason Kidd is the new frontrunner to be the New York Knicks’ next head coach.

Bondy says Kidd “is viewed by the Knicks as a conduit to attracting free agents” but adds “there are also people in the organization who are skeptical of his coaching ability following underwhelming stints in Brooklyn and Milwaukee.”

Kidd is an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers under head coach Frank Vogel. After retiring from the NBA in 2013 (Kidd’s last season was with the Knicks in the 2012-13 season) Kidd was named the Brooklyn Nets head coach. After a supposed power-play move within the organization, Brooklyn traded Kidd to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2014.

Kidd coached the Bucks for three and a half seasons, getting fired in 2018. During Kidd’s time in Milwaukee, he coached Giannis Antetokounmpo, a free agent in 2021. The 2019 NBA Most Valuable Player Award recipient reportedly had a sound relationship with Kidd. It has been reported that some NBA teams feel Kidd could be the “link” to Antetokounmpo.

Bondy says that potential assistants under Kidd include Kenny Payne, Rod Strickland and Mike Woodson, the Knicks head coach from 2012-14, and a reported candidate for the current coaching vacancy.

The New York Knicks fired head coach David Fizdale in December 2019 after going 4-18. They promoted assistant Mike Miller to interim head coach. The Knicks went 17-27 under Miller.

The team fired president Steve Mills in February, replacing him with former agent Leon Rose. Under Rose, the Knicks have retained Scott Perry as general manager, hired Walt Perrin as assistant general manager, and hired William Wesley as executive vice president/senior basketball advisor, among other moves.

Tom Thibodeau has been the long-standing favorite to be named the Knicks head coach given his relationship with Rose and Wesley by means of Creative Artists Agency. A source tells Bondy that owner James Dolan has been “unwilling” to meet Thibodeau’s contract requests and any deal between the two sides at this point would require a “concession.”