As Leon Rose takes charge, the Knicks are set up for a smart, slow build: a handful of young players with potential on the roster — RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson — plus seven first-round picks in the next four drafts. Use those picks wisely, find more young talent, develop players, build a culture of winning, and the Knicks can build something to last.
Or, they could make a trade for a star and jumpstart the process.
It’s the Knicks, so of course some in the organization are pushing for the trade.
…some with the Knicks feel that they are incredibly well positioned to trade for a disgruntled star if one becomes available.
“It’s the best path for us,” one front office member recently said.
This aligns with a directive that the Knicks were operating under prior to the 2020 trade deadline: Whatever happens, we need to maintain enough assets to be in position to trade for a star player. Even though he wasn’t officially in charge at the time, it’s fair to assume that Rose was on board with that thinking. And it’s fair to assume that, based on that directive, Rose will be aggressive if the right young star becomes available via trade.
It is only the best path for just the right star — the Knicks need to be picky.
It has to be someone entering or early in their prime, not a 32-year-old setting up for one last big contract. It has to be someone who wants to stay in New York and with the Knicks, not someone pushing their way out of an organization so they can test the free-agent market. (And don’t assume you can keep said player just because you’re the Knicks.) It has to be a player that fits with the guys on the roster, or, the Knicks need to get players who do fit.
The Knicks have all these first-round picks because, starting with Phil Jackson, the front office stop trading them away for short-sighted mid-season fixes. The Mills/Perry front office, whatever you think of them, stockpiled the picks. That gives them the foundation for a rebuild.
It feels at times like there are some in the Knicks organization still looking for the quick fix. It doesn’t exist. The Knicks need to build slow and smart — their fans get that. Give them hope, draft well and develop players and they will be all in, this is a basketball savvy fanbase.
Rose, to his credit, preached patience in a March letter to fans when he took over.
“Nothing about this is easy, or quick, so I ask for your continued patience… We will develop a plan that makes sense, both to jumpstart our short-term growth and ensure our long-term success.”
He’s saying the right things, but actions will speak louder than words.