Why Did The Knicks Hire An Agent To Be Their Next President Of Basketball Operations?

By: Zachary Diamond
Posted: February 11, 2020

The New York Knicks have hired Creative Arts Agency (CAA) agent Leon Rose to be the next president of basketball operations. The move comes after the Knicks fired their former president Steve Mills on February 4th.

Rose represented LeBron James from 2005-2012 and helped orchestrate James’ move to Miami. Rose has also represented Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Joel Embiid, and Karl-Anthony Towns. Rose clearly has established relationships with many of the league’s top talent- but why should he be the Knicks’ next president of basketball operations?

As an agent, Rose is familiar with the business side of basketball. Having negotiated many contracts for NBA players, Rose could be useful when it comes to free agency. Since Rose knows the player’s side to contract negotiations, hopefully, he will be able to use that perspective to productively pooch free agents for the Knicks.

Rose knows what the top talents in the NBA want, and maybe he can use his insider information from his agent days to land a big stud for the team. Having represented LeBron and other super-elite talents, Rose will know it takes to land a player of that caliber.

Rose has also represented NBA draft prospects and will know how to handle the Knicks large crop of young talent. Frank Ntilikina used to be represented by Rose and had positive things to say to the New York Post.

“He’s a good guy, he helped me with a lot through the draft process,’’ Ntilikina said of Rose. “He knows basketball and knows what he’s doing.’’

There is no question that Rose will be proficient on the business side of being president of basketball operations. However, there is a lot to question about his player evaluation and roster construction abilities. Does he have any? How would we know?

There is no evidence to suggest he does, given Rose has no experience working for an NBA franchise in any capacity. We have no clue how competent Rose would be evaluating talent and constructing a roster since there is nothing on his resume that demonstrates such abilities. All we can say for sure is that Rose is capable of negotiating contracts for his clients.

The Knicks certainly went with an unorthodox hire. Rose is the second CAA agent to be hired into an organization’s front office in the last year, as the New York Mets hired agent Brodie Van Wagenen to be their GM. Brodie has had terrible results, having gutted the Mets farm system and showed a bias towards former clients.

The Knicks should have gone with an established executive who has a track record of building a basketball team. Why they went with the inexperienced guy who has no history running a team, I don’t know. It is the Knicks, and they aren’t known for their decision making or competency.

As long as James Dolan is still running the team, it might not even matter who is in charge of the team- they’re already screwed. If Dolan hired an agent in order to have greater control and influence on the construction of the roster, then it doesn’t matter who they’ve hired. If Rose is there as a figurehead to sign off on whatever Dolan wants than go outside and get some fresh air. Turn off MSG Network because there’s no point in wasting any more of your time.

Leon Rose is a guy who has been around the game for over two decades, so even though he doesn’t have any front office experience in a sports franchise, he understands the industry, which is valuable. It is hard to be any worse than the Knicks have been over the last 20 years, so there’s only room for improvement.

For more thoughts and opinions from Zachary, check out his author page or Twitter.

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