The Knicks hired former power agent Leon Rose of CAA more than a year ago, and if his deep well of connections in the NBA industry were part of the reason the organization wanted to bring him in, it hasn’t yet paid off, at least not in a big way. Rose has made solid moves but he has not given the Knicks a true game-changer on the roster to this point.
Which is understandable. Rose has only been through two offseasons—one of which kicked in only weeks after the Orlando bubble playoffs wrapped up—so there has not been time to size up whether he can bring in a top-tier player.
But longtime agent Todd Ramasar said this week that he thinks Rose’s understanding of the business will make it happen. As Ramasar told SNY’s Ian Begley, “He’s going to understand players because he’s had to represent them all these years. His ability to communicate with them and understand them is what I think is going to help draw that superstar to the Knicks in the near future. I don’t say that taking away from the current roster, either. (I’m talking about) the best of the best, your one percent of the one percent (of players). (Rose’s ability to understand star players) will help.”
Rose’s Transaction List Is Still Small
Rose’s list of maneuvers since he got the Knicks job remains small. He hired Tom Thibodeau as coach, in what was his most significant transaction, and came out of the 2020 NBA draft with Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley. Toppin has been mediocre, especially because the Knicks passed on budding Kings star Tyrese Halliburton to pick him, while Quickley has been one of the pleasant surprises of that draft.
Rose made more aggressive free-agent moves this summer, signing Evan Fournier to a four-year, $78 million deal that looks questionable at this point, at best. Fournier is averaging only 13.8 points and making 42.7% of his shots, 36.9% of his 3s.
He also took a low-risk gamble on point guard Kemba Walker after he was waived by the Thunder. Walker signed for two years and $18 million, and while that is a team-friendly deal, Walker’s balky left knee continues to prevent him from being consistent.
Can Rose Land Ex-Client Karl-Anthony Towns?
Even if Walker and Fournier bounce back, they’re clearly not the game-changing No. 1 option star the team is looking for. Rose would have to land someone like his former client, Karl-Anthony Towns of the Timberwolves, to satisfy that need, and while that remains a possibility down the line, Towns has yet to ask for a trade out of Minnesota, and it could be a while before he does.
If that happens, the Knicks would be at the top of the list of possible destinations.
But when a big-time talent comes onto the market in the NBA—either the trade market or the free-agent market—Ramasar said Rose’s background as an agent will help him. All agents like working with former agents, after all:
They’re going to be sensitive, empathetic towards me as an agent. Whether they acknowledge it or not, they know what it is to be an agent, to advise a client and to understand the circumstances agents face when negotiating with a team.
They are also going to come from the perspective of their (current) position: they’ve been employed to help build a championship roster. But having that experience (of an agent) and understanding the decisions that need to be made (is an advantage for a team executive). A lot of front office (personnel) can’t speak to that…. For those who have sat in both (seats), it can lead to a greater understanding (of the business).