New York Knicks general manager Scott Perry can change the squad’s fortunes for the foreseeable future, but will the team actually allow him the opportunity?
Scott Perry has an opportunity of a lifetime awaiting him with the New York Knicks. Despite the Knicks’ toxicity, if you are able to win in New York, you will be remembered forever. Perry certainly has the know-how to bring the Knicks back to the promised land.
Perry was part of the management team that put together the 2004 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons team. More recently, Perry had the difficult task of rebuilding a team nearly as unstable as the New York Knicks, the Sacramento Kings. The Kings faced many of the same obstacles as the Knicks under Perry’s short time with the team.
Perry was only with the Kings for three months but quickly helped point the franchise in the right direction. The Kings greatest problems before Perry arrived were, much like the Knicks, a culture highlighted by selfishness and the lack of a cohesive plan for the future.
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Perry’s first month with Sacramento started at with great fortune, as he saw Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox slide right into his lap. He was also part of the regime that traded the 10th overall pick in the NBA Draft for the 15th and 20th pick in the draft, drafting Justin Jackson and Harry Giles, respectively — a consensus top prospect, the top player on the NCAA national champion Tar Heels, and the former top high school basketball player in the country. The Kings had quite the draft with Perry’s help.
Moving into free agency the Kings realized they were not going to be a prime destination for free agents.
Instead of giving big-money, inexplicable contracts to divisive players like another team, Sacramento, with Perry’s advice, opted to bring in strong leadership to a torn locker room.
The Kings needed to find a mentor for their young point guard of the future. So they gave $57 million to George Hill, a two-way player who has been well-liked everywhere he has played. To many, this was an overpay but a team in Sacramento’s position could overpay defensive-minded mentors like Hill. The Kings and Perry were also smart enough to make Hill’s last year partially guaranteed, effectively giving the 31-year old a two-year deal.
Days later the Kings would go on to sign Zach Randolph. A decade ago, this would have been ludicrous. Adding a locker room cancer like Randolph to an already dysfunctional locker room could only mean doom. But Randolph matured after spending eight seasons in Memphis. He formed a bond with the city of Memphis like no other player in the NBA could to their city, becoming a folk hero in the city.
When the Grizzlies announced they would be retiring Randolph’s number after news broke he would be going to Sacramento, nobody was surprised. He earned it through his play, but more importantly, through his maturation and his importance to the community. The older, wiser Randolph is exactly the type of player Sacramento needed. Perry and company realized this.
Last but not least, the Kings signed Vince Carter, yet another NBA veteran, to a big-money deal. Carter’s signing marked the addition of three veteran, level-headed players who could change the culture of the Sacramento Kings. Just like that, the Kings turned into one of the NBA’s laughingstocks to a team lauded for their incredible offseason. For the first time in a long time, the Kings seem to have a plan.
Perry helped a team no free agents wanted to go to, a team in desperate need of a mentor for their young guard, find stability. Does this sound familiar? This certainly sounds like the same problems a certain New York basketball team that resides in Madison Square Garden is currently experiencing.
The Knicks found the perfect man for the job in Scott Perry. But did Perry find the perfect job for himself?
The Knicks front office, the same management that worked before and under the Phil Jackson era, is still largely intact. Steve Mills still will have the final say on all moves as he now will serve as the team’s president. Allan Houston, who the Knicks refused to part ways with when asked to by former GM candidate David Griffin, will also remain with the team. And of course, Knicks owner James Dolan and his ear-wrenching kazoo still loom over MSG.
You can find the most talented executive in the world but he will not succeed unless he has free reign. Dolan, Mills and company have proved over the past many years that they do not know what it takes to push the teams to new heights. They do not know what it takes to make sure their team had a stable locker room. And they certainly did not know how to put together a winning culture.
Perry has demonstrated in the past a propensity for all three and he needs to prove he can do it again, alone, without any input from Mills, Dolan, or any other front office member previously affiliated with the team.