Tim Hardaway Jr., Carmelo Anthony, Steve Mills
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The New York Knicks parted ways with Steve Mills, who was no fan-favorite, so it’s only right that the text messages flooded his phone. 

Geoffrey Campbell

Back at it again. The fifth edition of “ESNY’s Top 10 texts” series features former President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks, Steve Mills. Mills’s reassignment came two days prior to the trade deadline and to say that fans were excited about this move would be a massive understatement.

Mills was reportedly relieved of his duties due to conflicting ideas and philosophies regarding how to manage the team’s activity during the trade deadline. But truth be told, Mills’s pink slip had been years in the making. The sole survivor of numerous failed front office regimes had finally met his maker.

The Princeton graduate was no stranger to controversy during his time at the helm. From his head-scratching signing of Tim Hardaway Jr. to the way that Kristaps Porzingis’s time ended in New York, Mills was not winning any Executive of Year awards for his personnel work.

Mills will still be cashing checks from four Pennslyvania Plaza for the foreseeable future but no longer as the head honcho for the orange and blue.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 texts Mills received after he was re-assigned.

Jeff Hornacek – At least they didn’t give you the bad news in the middle of the night, right after you got off the team plane. I mean you’d have to a special type of individual to do something like that… oh, wait. 🙂

Joakim Noah – Still on the cap for the next two seasons… make sure ya keep sending me those checks on time.

Kristaps Porzingis – The fans turned on me because you told them that I wanted to leave New York. Fans turned on you cause you couldn’t get the job done.

David Fizdale – *Sees Mills Woj Bomb and direct deposit notification on the same day*


Leon Rose – I got Melo a near max-extension and no-trade-clause after a year when his team won only 37 games. We won’t be taken advantage of like that while I’m in charge.

Scott Perry – Remember when you told me how you survived multiple Knicks’ front office regimes despite being a key part of the decision-making process… I was listening. Peace, bro.

Mike Budenholzer – I cannot thank you enough for not offering me the Knicks’ head coaching job. Your courtside seats to our home ECF games will be in the mail.

Frank Isola & Stefan Bondy (group text) – Steve, Stef and I are co-authoring a book about Knicks basketball. We wanted to get some quotes for a chapter entitled, “Decades of dysfunction and mediocrity – Where there’s a Mills there’s a way.” Thoughts?

Tim Hardaway Jr. – This past offseason, I bought a yacht. It was expensive. I named it after you. I think you know why.

Carmelo Anthony – Remember this?

Honestly, no hard feelings man. My Zen is at an all-time high so I’ll leave you with this inspirational quote.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Usually, in these situations, you end up letting someone else take the fall. Now you can’t. Lose my number. Stay Melo.

Honorable Mentions:

Phil Jackson – Every year I invite D-Fish, Jeff and Kurt out to my ranch out in Montana. We just recently added Fiz to the party. We do loads of drugs and spend a ton of James Dolan’s money. You’re not invited but I’d figure I’d let you know.

Princeton Athletic Department – The saying goes that you can always come home. Well… not in this case; stay at the Garden.

Mills’s exit symbolizes a massive change for the organization. Fans have generally been pleased the Knicks’ ability to draft talent. However, the hiring/firing of David Fizdale and suspect player development have been the latest stains on Mills’s Garden resume that also includes a win-loss record of 178-365.

Only time will tell whether the new President of Basketball Operations, Leon Rose, will have success in New York. The turnover of front office executives and head coaches has been the only measure of consistency for the Knicks over the past 20 years.

Mills’s time is up, but will it really change anything? Or was Mills just a cog in a broken-down machine that has made losing the norm for one of the most valuable franchises in all of sports?