Knicks: How Leon Rose can turn New York into a contender

NY Knicks, Leon Rose (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Knicks, Leon Rose (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Leon Rose, New York Knicks (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Outlining a 3-year plan for Leon Rose with the New York Knicks.

Leon Rose’s first regular season as president of basketball operations is finally about to start nine months after being hired by the New York Knicks. While it might seem that he will be given plenty of time and  leeway to fix the team, the reality is that he’s been under pressure since the moment the ink dried on his contract. James Dolan has given the heads of basketball operations an average of three years to show results.

While on the surface that might seem fair, the reality is that it hasn’t proven to be enough time. Part of the reason is that the new president is usually inheriting a mess that needs to be cleaned up. That by itself takes 1-to-2 seasons to accomplish.

So it’s no coincidence that the most aggressive win-now moves tend to happen in Year 3 of a rebuild. We saw Phil Jackson spend over $120MM in 2016 free agency to sign Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee. Jackson also traded for Derrick Rose, taking on the last year of his contract, $21MM. These moves happened because it was his third year.

In the summer of 2019, Steve Mills’ plan to sign star free agents failed, but instead of shifting to a plan focused on building around R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, he did the opposite. The pressure to save his job compelled him to sacrifice player development in an attempt to make the playoffs. He signed 7 free agents, 4 of whom played the same position, power forward.

So Rose has to be aware of this and have a 3-year plan. The good news for Rose is that he is inheriting the best situation a new team president has had since Dave Checketts took over in 1991. The team has cap space, young talent, and draft capital. The only thing missing is a star player. That is were Rose hopes to leverage his relationships in order to lure some to New York.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that Rose was trying to acquire high-priced veteran players in order to accelerate the rebuild, but no one wanted to come. The very reason Dolan hired Rose was to do just that. So while most fans weren’t expecting big moves this offseason, in Dolan’s eyes, Rose is 0 for 1.