By any reasonable measure, the New York Knicks knocked the 2022-23 season out of the park. They won 47 games, a 10-game improvement, and a first-round playoff series after signing Jalen Brunson to a four-year, $104 million deal over the summer, which was its own kind of home run.
These are not the type of successes that typically precede the firing of a general manager. But according to SNY's Ian Begley, the Knicks are indeed cutting ties with Scott Perry, who has served as the team's GM for the last six seasons. Perry has served in that role under two different team presidents -- first Steve Mills and currently Leon Rose, who took over the top job in early 2020 after a long career as a player agent.
It's not to suggest that Perry has been perfect, or even close to it, over his tenure. He was part of the front office that drafted Kevin Knox in the 2018 lottery. They missed on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in 2019 -- though that appears to have been a blessing in disguise. The first coach they hired, David Fizdale, only lasted a season and a half.
But there are some real wins on Perry's ledger, beginning with the Brunson deal. To think that plenty of us thought the Knicks actually overpaid for Brunson is hilarious. That contract was a straight-up robbery by Perry and the Knicks, who also control eleven potential first-round picks (some have to convey) over the next seven drafts.
Perry was there when the Knicks made the Kristaps Porzingis trade to Dallas, which was a win for New York. He was part of the front office that made a small deal with the Clippers to land the pick that became Immanuel Quickley. They drafted R.J. Barrett, who may not look like a home run but certainly hasn't been a whiff, and Obi Toppin. They found Mitchell Robinson in the second round. They made one of the best trades at this year's deadline in acquiring Josh Hart, who was an instant and consistent hit with New York.
The moves the Knicks didn't make while Perry was with the organization look equally good. They didn't sell the farm for Donovan Mitchell, keeping all those aforementioned draft picks in New York's pocket. When the Mills-Perry regime struck out on Durant and Irving, they didn't overreact by going out and overpaying someone else just to have something to show for what was a highly anticipated summer. They inked short-term deals. Maintained flexibility. Hired Tom Thibodeau, who won Coach of the Year in his first season in New York and has made the playoffs in two out of three seasons as head coach. And now the Knicks have a relatively clean cap sheet.
Still, this also isn't terribly surprising in its own way. This is Rose's front office now, and it appears that despite Perry's relative success in New York, Rose doesn't think Perry is the man for the job of pushing the Knicks forward now that the stakes are considerably higher.
Bottom line: It's not good enough anymore to go from a joke to a relevant team. Now the Knicks wants to go from relevant to a contender, and that's another kind of leap. A lot of Perry's moves put them in position to potentially be able to make that leap, but it's going to be someone else charged with actually doing it.