Leon Rose was hired by the New York Knicks largely for his ability to recruit top talent, and while he hasn't had a chance to do so on the player or coaching side yet, he made his first big splash within his own front office on Tuesday. The Knicks will hire former Cleveland Cavaliers executive Brock Aller in a high-ranking role in the organization, according to SNY's Ian Begley. His title has not been set, but with Scott Perry still with the team, it seems unlikely that Aller will be named the team's new general manager.
Even if his title is unsettled, his role with the team is not. Aller will be New York's capologist, a role he excelled in with Cleveland. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert called Aller "one of the finer capologists in the league" in a 2017 interview with Cleveland.com, and the reputation is warranted.
The cap gymnastics necessary to facilitate not only LeBron James' 2014 return to Cleveland, but building a championship-caliber roster around him, were remarkable and unmatched to this day. The 2014-15 Cavaliers were the first and only team in NBA history to sign a max free agent and pay the luxury tax in the same season, and it was largely thanks to the machinations of Aller and David Griffin.
Creating the cap space to sign James outright was made possible through a three-team trade that dumped the contracts of Jarrett Jack, Tyler Zeller and Sergey Karasev, but the true marvel was their mid-season trade for Timofey Mozgov. As Brian Windhorst covered in great detail in 2014, Cleveland executed a number of step-ladder trades over the course of around three months in order to create a trade exception big enough to absorb Mozgov. In essence, they traded multiple small salaries for a single, bigger one (Keith Bogans) that they could later dump on a team with cap space (the Philadelphia 76ers) in order to create a vacant cap slot with which to acquire Mozgov.
That sort of creativity is prized in a cap-obsessed modern NBA. While the Knicks are in rebuilding mode right now, they surely expect to compete for top veteran talent in the near future, and fitting all of that talent under one roof is a challenge the Knicks have struggled with for years. Now they have one of the NBA's brightest financial minds to help them do so moving forward.