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A cultivator of relationships: Scott Perry is the New York Knicks MVP

Scott Perry has only been in the New York Knicks front office for five months, yet he has made a significant impact on the roster and has lifted fans’ spirits and expectations for the 2017-18 season.

This cool, calm and collected NBA veteran executive with Motor City roots struck gold on the Carmelo Anthony deal and continues to impress New York Knicks fans every day. Scott Perry’s experiences and relationships around the league will help bring the Knicks back to prominence.

Previous regimes have attempted to buy wins through free-agency, build through the draft without really developing players or some poor combination of the two. Granted, owner James Dolan has certainly contributed to the dysfunction, generally settling for the quick solution as opposed to a gradual and patient rebuild.

Furthermore, communication and relationships with fans, front office staff, coaches and/or franchise players always seem to deteriorate at one point or another.

It’s a hallmark of what has kept the Knicks in mediocrity.

Perry has brought a unique set of skills to the Knicks. A well-respected member of the NBA community and former assistant head coach for the famous Michigan Fab Five, he has received rave reviews from players both, past and present. Perry has a decent history in the draft and, most importantly, deploys strong communication skills and relationships with players, executives and agents across the association.

Perry immediately won fans over in his handling of the Carmelo Anthony trade. Prior to his arrival, and even after Phil Jackson’s exit, communication between Anthony and the front office was limited at best. Yet Perry, in a very straight-forward and honest way, changed all of this.

Prior to Anthony’s opening night game against the Knicks, he told Fred Kerber the New York Post,

“Something I respect about Scott, he was honest. Scott was very upfront, very honest, he’s like, ‘Look, I’m not giving you up for nothing. I’m just letting you know that. I respect you. I respect your game,’ ”

Perry’s preference for open communication was also demonstrated prior to the season, as Perry, Steve Mills and Jeff Hornacek laid out a plan regarding the direction of the franchise. During their press conference, the brain trust pushed a vision with an emphasis on a youth movement, defense and playing hard.

This approach is nothing new for Perry. In a 2008 interview with Percy Allen of the Seattle Times, Damien Wilkins, former forward for the  Seattle Supersonics, commented on Perry’s open lines of communication.

He calls me from time to time and I’m sure he calls most of the guys to check in and see how things are going,” Sonics forward Damien Wilkins said. “In past years, there’s been no communication at all with the people upstairs. So to see him around so much, that’s a positive change.”

Perry spent one year, as the assistant general manager for the Seattle Supersonics. Perry was an integral part of the team that drafted Kevin Durant with the second pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

The same article credits Perry for trusting his instincts and ultimately valuing hustle, heart and work ethic more than impressive statistics. Reportedly, this same value system influenced Perry to draft players like Rodney Stuckey, Jason Maxiell, Tayshaun Prince and Amir Johnson.

Many will remember Perry’s years in the front office with the Detroit Pistons, an organization known for hard-nosed play and excellent defense. His time with the Pistons included two straight NBA finals appearances and a championship in 2005. Chauncey Billups, a mainstay of those Pistons teams had nothing but great things to say about Perry.

In an interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post, Billups explained about his experiences with Perry.

“I love Scott — I’ve known him since I was 16,” Billups told The Post in a phone interview. “He was there under Joe Dumars’ leadership and tutelage. We developed a great friendship through those years. You can tell he’s very good at what he does. … I think he’s going to do a great job there.”

Former NBA veteran and current agent, B.J. Armstrong, grew up with Perry in Detroit and currently represents players like Draymond Green, Josh Jackson and Denzel Valentine. In a New York Times article written by Malika Andrews, Armstrong spoke about Perry’s ability to organize and bring people together in the Detroit hoops scene.

He was an organizer even back then,” Armstrong said in a phone interview. “That’s what he does. He’s an incredible organizer. You always went to Scott to find out what was going on. It was, ‘What we doing today? Let’s ask Scott.’

Do not be surprised if the Knicks are involved when Draymond Green becomes a free agent in the summer of 2019. Perry may very well be the Knicks best off-season signing. He has had success in most stops along his NBA journey.

He has a keen eye for talent, possesses great communication skills, and demonstrates a remarkable ability to create and cultivate relationships in today’s NBA.