From an unappealing destination to an attractive market once again.
“I think what has shifted from being an agent, from being in the league, there was a time where I felt like people may not have wanted to play in that city, and I think that’s changed,” Myers said in a conference call with reporters on Monday.
“I think now you’re looking at murmurings, hearing things, ‘Hey, what about the Knicks?’ and the draft capital they have allows them to — it’s a realistic thing, right? It’s not just some layperson saying, ‘Well, the Knicks should go get this guy,'” Myers added.
The Knicks have modeled their front office after Myers, who successfully jumped from being a player agent to engineering the Golden State Warriors dynasty. Myers has moved on to take another challenge — joining ESPN’s NBA coverage as a basketball analyst.
Leon Rose’s Patient Approach
Rose has made strides as a basketball executive, though not quite at the level Myers had reached. But he’s getting there.
Since Rose replaced Steve Mills as the Knicks president in 2020, the once-floundering franchise has risen from being a perennial lottery team to two playoff trips and one playoff series win over the last three seasons.
Rose’s leadership, defined by patience and prudence, has brought the Knicks back to relevance. They are well-positioned to trade not only for one but two max-salary players.
“Now it’s viable,” Myers said. “It’s possible.”
“They have what it takes with the first-round picks in their cabinet to go do it. They have got a lot of good, young players on pretty affordable contracts,” Myers continued.
“So just another team that you’re kind of waiting for the next big thing, and the next thing they do, I think, will define them over the next four or five years.
The Next Challenge for Knicks
The Knicks are past the rebuilding stage. They have moved up from the basement to the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference ladder.
“I think that they want to go from good to great,” Myers said. “They are good and trying to get to great, and that’s probably harder than going from bad to good, which I think they have already done.”
“So now the question is: How do you get from that, you know, 5-4 seed to the 1-2 seed, and that’s going to be the challenge for them.”
What Does That Defining Move Could Look Like?
All signs point to the Knicks pushing all their chips for a superstar like Joel Embiid or Giannis Antetokounmpo. But Myers believes it’s not the be-all and end-all.
“It doesn’t maybe have to be that superstar, but you hope you get something that unlocks everyone else or amplifies the rest of your team,” Myers said.
To further illustrate his points, he referred to the Warriors trading for Andre Iguodala in a three-team deal with the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz in 2013.
“To be truthful, I didn’t know that [Andre] Iguodala was going to be such a piece for what the Warriors became,” Myers said. “But [we] worked extremely hard to make sure we got Iguodala, and he ended up being the Finals MVP for the year we won it.”
The Knicks’ most significant move yet under Rose is signing Jalen Brunson during last year’s free agency. That move has filled the Knicks’ weakest link and elevated the team to playoff contention.
“And I think the Knicks have been patient, and at least they haven’t done anything irrational in my mind,” Myers said. “They haven’t had a big misstep where you would say, hey, look, they blew it on the wrong guy, and that can set you back for years.”
In the same summer they signed Brunson, the Knicks showed restraint from pushing all their chips for Donovan Mitchell. This summer, they inquired but quickly balked at the high asking price for aging stars James Harden and Paul George.
“So, I think there has to be a healthy amount impatience but not imprudent, and so I think that’s what the Knicks are looking at,” Myers said.