New York Knicks front office returns to forefront amid terrible start

(Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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The New York Knicks front office made a rare public appearance in front of the podium, and they had plenty to say on the team’s early struggles to start the season.

“Hello darkness, my old friend,” sounded about right, as the tune of the New York Knicks’ latest loss, 108-87, to the Cleveland Cavaliers. There was no hope for a team that just played its best game 48 hours earlier, toppling Kristaps Porzingis and the Dallas Mavericks, and everything seemed lifeless; lacking effort, poor free throws, and matador defense.

This loss was so notable, it brought general manager Scott Perry and president Steve Mills to the post-game podium in a rare public-speaking appearance.

“We’re not happy with where we are,” Mills said after the game. “This is not where we expected to be at this point, 10 games in.”

Starting the season at 2-8, five losses of which were by double digits, will certainly cause the organizational unhappiness and the latest Madison Square Garden jeers.

Mills and Perry do not speak publicly for just anything. They last appeared in this forum in September, when the Knicks had their annual Media Day. Free agency was finally addressed after striking out on the top available players, and their only other press conference was the obligatory introduction of RJ Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis, post-2019 NBA Draft.

Now, the front-office leaders have put themselves at the forefront of a miserable 10-game stretch. Coach David Fizdale is a co-contributor to the issues, but the spotlight falls on the creators of this team, especially after using approximately $70 million to construct it, only to see it fail spectacularly.

The freed cap space was preluded by the Porzingis trade, which sent the disgruntled star away for two players, DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews, that no longer play for the Knicks; a struggling point guard in Dennis Smith Jr.; and two first-round picks that will not convey until 2021 and 2023, respectively. Right now, they have nothing to show for, and the draft picks are too far into the future.

Not everything has been a failure, as RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson look like the real deal. Otherwise, Mills and Perry formed a team of meandering players, and they have taken some accountability.

The spotlight will brighten on Dec. 15, when players signed in 2019 free agency can become available for trade. Where the Knicks are in five weeks is anyone’s guess, but watching this roster, as currently constructed, stick for another four months might not work, and it could make every short-term contract expendable.

Granted, the Knicks are not a playoff-caliber team, but this group needs a refresher or a different look, to show some sign of hope and positivity for the future. Barrett, Robinson, Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina are pieces towards that, but they do not consume the full puzzle. They need a change, and it is quickly becoming a roster issue and not only a coaching question.

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Mills and Perry have taken a public stance on the New York Knicks, and that is a start towards accountability and finding a new direction. Five weeks are ahead to figure out this team, but by Dec. 15, when the reigns are loosened on the trade restrictions, all bets are off.