New York Knicks
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The man that helped to draft Kristaps Porzingis, Clarence Gaines Jr., will not be back with the New York Knicks next season.

Changes have been made in the New York Knicks‘ scouting department. Per Ian Begley of ESPN, Clarence Gaines Jr., who served as Vice President of Player Personnel and was a close adviser to Phil Jackson, is out in New York.

Gaines was an instrumental figure in the drafting of unicorn Kristaps Porzingis. Reportedly, Gaines described the unicorn as a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” This cut could be seen as a final separation of ties between the Knicks organization and Jackson, an era that has been dead for a while.

Gaines was also a strong influence in the drafting of Frank Ntilikina. As written by ESNY’s own Justin Weiss, Gaines wanted Ntilikina over players like Dennis Smith Jr. and Malik Monk.

Even though Smith Jr. had a solid rookie year, Ntilikina is still just 20-years-old. And while most fans will want to see an improvement offensively, his defensive talents always make him a threat on the court.

From his own Twitter account, Gaines appeared to take the news well and seemed optimistic about the direction of the franchise. It’s also possible that Gaines may be leaving the game for good to spend more time with his family and ailing daughter.

Gaines was a key member of the Chicago Bulls scouting staff during the Jordan years. Additionally, Gaines’s father, Clarence Gaines is a Hall-of-Famer and coached Earl “The Pearl” Monroe at Winston-Salem State Univerity.

This is also a sign that the new brain trust of Steve Mills and Scott Perry will look to bring in people that fit their philosophy and ideas regarding player development. Craig Robinson and David Fizdale are examples of this and the Knicks may not be done yet.

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