New York Knicks reach new low, forced to send out statement correcting comments made by team's brand guru

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As a basketball franchise, your main goal is to be a competitive playoff team, and potentially contend for championships if things break your way. And if for whatever reason you can't reach either of those goals, then at the very least you want to avoid any unnecessary drama or off-court scandals. In other words, you don't want to be the New York Knicks

At this point, with just one playoff series win since 2000, and no trips to the postseason since 2013, the Knicks are known far more for their antics off the floor, than anything they do on it. The latest example came in the form of an ill-advised TV appearance by the team's brand consultant, Steve Stoute. 

After reading that sentence again and shaking your head and/or laughing at what an absurd situation that is, you're probably asking yourself: wait, who is Steve Stoute? Well, he's a former music executive the team hired to help improve their "brand," and apparently fancies himself as the team's Drake. 

"Toronto Raptors, they brought in Drake to bring that thing," Stoute said on ESPN's First Take on Tuesday. "The New York Knicks brought in me." 

He also shared a lot of thoughts about the team, offering a bunch of cliches about their iconic status, and how they need to get back to attracting key free agents -- things everyone knows. But the real trouble was when he started talking about actual changes, and foreshadowed the firing of interim head coach Mike Miller. As transcribed by the New York Post:

"There had to be a change in [firing team president Steve Mills]. That change will bring a new coach and new coaches that are going to help develop these younger players," Stoute said. "And they got some young players — you see RJ Barrett, Mitch Robinson. They got something to work with. And getting a coach in there and ultimately getting a coach and a coaching staff that's going to help develop a team. That's what I expect to happen so that we can actually get to what you expect from a New York team.

"Having a coach like that who has the magnitude and gravitas so that the media would love to talk to him and believe him, I think that's super important."

It's really not a good idea for anyone from your franchise to go on TV and start talking about how the head coach needs to be fired, but you especially don't want a "brand guru" saying that. Even if he's right, it's just a terrible look for everyone involved. Unsurprisingly, the Knicks acted swiftly, sending out a memo stating that Stoute, "does not speak on behalf of the New York Knicks personnel and basketball operations."

Stoute himself added, "In my excitement to defend the Knicks on live TV today, I inadvertently insinuated about Knicks personnel. I look forward to working with Knicks management to elevate the great Knicks brand moving forward."

So already this month, the Knicks have fired team president Steve Mills two days before the trade deadline, and were forced to send out a statement correcting something their brand guru said on TV. Terrific. Oh, by the way, they're 17-37, which is good for the fifth-worst record in the league.

Just another great season at Madison Square Garden. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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