Leon Rose to Take Over as Knicks President Soon

Leon Rose to Take Over as Knicks President Soon


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Leon Rose, a prominent player agent, will take over as the Knicks’ team president on Sunday, according to two people familiar with the timetable.

Rose verbally agreed to take the job in early February and spent the rest of the month detaching himself from the various players he represents for Creative Artists Agency, according to the people, who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

The Knicks have not yet formally announced Rose’s hiring and may not do so until next week since Rose’s first day — March 1 — falls on a weekend. Steve Mills, Rose’s predecessor, was reassigned to a new role within the Madison Square Garden Company on Feb. 4, two days before the N.B.A.’s annual trade deadline.

Leaguewide reaction to Rose’s appointment has been measured, thanks in part to the widespread expectation that James L. Dolan, the Knicks’ owner, was finally going to pursue a highly experienced lead voice for the front office, such as the Toronto Raptors’ Masai Ujiri.

Rose is a respected and well-connected figure in the game after representing some top players in more than two decades as an agent, including Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and, more recently, Chris Paul, Joel Embiid, Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns. But he has no front-office experience and joins an organization with only six playoff appearances since losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the N.B.A. finals in 1999.

Rose faces a busy first few months in the job, with the Knicks headed for their seventh successive losing season and without a permanent head coach.

The Knicks were 17-40 entering their game on Wednesday night at Charlotte, 13-22 under their interim coach, Mike Miller, which represents a notable improvement on the 4-18 start that led to David Fizdale’s firing on Dec. 6. Rose is nonetheless expected to hire an experienced replacement for Miller at season’s end, with Tom Thibodeau, the former Chicago and Minnesota coach, often mentioned in league coaching circles as a likely target.

Of course, if the Knicks hire Thibodeau, a longtime C.A.A. client, it will only amplify the perception that the franchise has punctuated years of ceding considerable influence to Rose’s former agency by turning to him to run their basketball operations.

Rival teams and agents have long questioned the Knicks for allowing C.A.A. to hold significant sway over team decisions, dating to Anthony’s arrival from Denver by a trade in February 2011.

It is not yet clear if General Manager Scott Perry, who ran the team’s dealings at the trade deadline after Mills was moved out, will retain a role under Rose.

The Knicks also recently hired the longtime music executive Steve Stoute as a branding consultant. On Feb. 11, after Stoute said during an ESPN television appearance that he would have “a loud voice” in the Knicks’ future and made a coaching change sound imminent, team officials issued a statement saying he “does not speak on behalf of New York Knicks personnel and basketball operations.”

The Knicks are surely hoping that Rose can find success on the team side as quickly as have two fellow former agents, Bob Myers (Warriors) and Rob Pelinka (Lakers).

In neither case, though, has the team flourished by signing the executives’ former clients. There are also recent examples of prominent agents, most notably Lon Babby in Phoenix and Arn Tellem in Detroit, whose arrivals made no tangible impact on their new teams.

When news of Rose’s pending hire broke on Feb. 6 — trade deadline day — Dolan issued a statement saying: “I am not selling, but I am determined to find the right leader for the Knicks who will ensure the long-term success of the team.”



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