The New York Knicks make it official on Monday, making former player agent Leon Rose their new team president. Rose will take over the role once filled by Steve Mills, who was in February. Terms of Rose's deal with the Knicks were not disclosed.
Although Rose doesn't have any NBA front office experience, he is extremely well connected. He has been one of the league's top agents for quite some time. Rose is LeBron James' former agent, and he recently represented some of the top players in the league today, including Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Victor Oladipo, and Carmelo Anthony. Rose negotiated James' contract with the Miami Heat and served as the star forward's agent until 2012 when James signed with Rich Paul.
Knicks owner James Dolan welcomed their new team president in a statement:
"We are pleased to welcome Leon to the New York Knicks as team president, and believe he is the right leader to build a winning organization for our fans. Leon is one of the most respected executives in professional basketball, with decades of experience successfully working with NBA players and team management in all facets of the game. We are confident he brings the right combination of expertise and relationships to ensure the long-term success of our franchise."
In his new role, Rose will oversee all basketball operations and personnel decisions for the franchise -- an opportunity he's eager to undertake.
"New York is the epicenter of basketball and Madison Square Garden has always been very special to me," Rose said in the issued statement. "To be a part of the Knicks revitalization and basketball at The Garden is a challenge and a rare opportunity, one to be cherished, and I will do my utmost to make the fans, the City and ownership proud. I want to thank Jim Dolan for this opportunity."
The Knicks don't plan to hold a press conference to officially introduce Rose, but he did release a lengthy letter to fans asking for their patience and pledging to do all that he can to bring winning basketball back to New York. He also made it clear that he plans to support current head coach Mike Miller, at least through the rest of the current campaign. You can read Rose's letter to Knicks fans in its entirety here:
I want to take this moment to introduce myself and tell you how proud I am to oversee this historic franchise as President of the New York Knicks. This is a pivotal time in Knicks history, so I want to let you know what you can expect from me and our organization moving forward.
Having been fortunate enough to be part of professional basketball for more than 25 years, I have had the privilege of helping to shape the careers of many incredible athletes throughout those decades, collaborating with key decision-makers and personnel within the basketball universe. In my career as an agent, I experienced the intricacies of the league, player recruitment and most importantly how to develop relationships, unity, and team cohesiveness. To be successful in the NBA, you need the best talent, a tireless work ethic, a winning culture and a total commitment to the development of both the individual and the team. I know that the ability to forge solid productive relationships is what binds all that together.
For the remainder of the season, I will work tirelessly behind the scenes while evaluating every aspect of the organization. Most immediately, we will support Mike Miller, his staff and our team, who have plenty of basketball left to be played this season. I want to thank Mike for his continued leadership and professionalism during this period.
Our team has young talent, significant future assets (including seven first-round picks over the next four years) and an ample amount of financial flexibility in the coming years. Everyone -- from ownership to athletes to staff and especially our fans -- wants this team to be a winner. We will have all the resources necessary to create a great organization -- one that supports our efforts to build a winning culture and gives Knicks fans, and the city of New York, the team you deserve.
Nothing about this is easy so I ask for your continued patience. What I promise you in return is that I will be honest and forthright. We will develop a plan that makes sense, both to jumpstart our short-term growth and ensure our long-term success. Our team will work hard, stick together and ensure we live up to the honor of wearing the New York Knicks jersey.
While I realize that there have been difficulties on the court, what has been remarkable to me is that your pride remains so strong, your loyalty undiminished. Rest assured, I will do everything I can to create a winning organization. I look forward to seeing you at The Garden.
Rose will have his hands full trying to turn the Knicks back into a legitimate title contender, and he's right, such a transformation certainly won't take place over night. Instead, it will take a series of smart decisions over the course of months, or years -- something that the Knicks haven't been able to string together recently under the ownership of James Dolan. As Rose stated in his letter, the Knicks have some solid young talent on their roster, a plethora of assets in the form of future draft picks, and ample cap space -- all important ingredients when it comes to the recipe of building a contending team in the NBA today. Now it's up to Rose to turn all of that into a viable on-court product.