The New York Knicks have been accused of lacking vision for the better part of the last 17 years, so to hear new general manager Scott Perry provide a glimpse into his visualization of what the team should look like hopefully gave the long-suffering faithful a rare feeling – hope.
“I will work tirelessly to develop a culture that demands results, commitment, and pride from everyone fortunate enough to be associated with our team — from our staff to our players,” Perry said in a prepared statement after the Knicks hired him. “Nothing comes close to Madison Square Garden for basketball, and it is our right and responsibility to showcase that tradition of excellence, day and night. I can’t wait to get started.”
Perry, who comes from the Sacramento Kings, where he was Vice President of Basketball Operations for less than three months, comes to New York for a pittance – cash and a 2019 second-round pick. And if he actually pans out, that price to get him will certainly seem like a bargain.
Perry officially met the press, today, at the Knicks’ facilities and explained that he’s the right person for the job. And considering the Kings have also had their shares of down seasons, embarrassing on-court play, disgruntled superstars, poor roster personnel, and league-wide ridicule, he’s stepping into a very familiar situation.
Just call the Knicks the Kings East until proven otherwise.
Perry, 53, is hoping to erase that stigma. And people in the know believe he can get the Knicks back to respectability. He was credited with helping the Kings have a solid offseason in the draft and free agency, so he’s now tasked with getting the Knicks out of the abyss. He was inked to a five-year deal, and if owner James Dolan doesn’t get trigger-happy, there just may be some continuity in the Knicks’ front office.
Team president Steve Mills said the Knicks will emphasize “pride, work ethic, accountability, youth, [and] athleticism.” He also officially stated that the Knicks are in “rebuilding” mode.
The phrase “work ethic” especially jumped out, as it seemed to piggyback on what Dolan said about the general manager search – and also seemed like a veiled shot at the previous team president, Phil Jackson, who was criticized for his nonchalance about a job that was paying him $12 million per year.
Perry won’t have free range like Jackson, nor will he cash checks as large as the Zen Master did (and will continue to do), but Mills was adamant in saying that this will be a partnership.
“I’m going to give Scott the room to make basketball decisions,” said Mills, adding Perry will have the freedom and flexibility to add and/or change front office staff while working in tandem with Mills on it.
Such a lack of executive freedom was the main sticking point for former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin, who removed his name from the Knicks’ general manager search before the team set its eyes on Perry.
It’ll remain to be seen whether the Knicks’ fallback plan will pan out, as Perry-led teams have had very little success over the previous five seasons when he was the Orlando Magic’s vice president and assistant general manager. But for a franchise like the Knicks, one so destitute that they’ve only enjoyed three winning seasons in the last 16 years, there’s really nothing to lose and only room to improve, because it can’t really get much worse.