In the realm of basketball, Bob Myers and Leon Rose travel a similar route.
Myers works for the Golden State Warriors while Rose works for the New York Knicks. Both were agents before becoming executives.
Since leaving his position as the Warriors’ general manager to take a job with ESPN, Myers has hailed the Knicks’ accomplishments under Rose, a native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey and a graduate of Cherry Hill High School East, and his senior deputy, William “Worldwide Wes” Wesley, a Camden native.
“They have done a great job,” Myers, the architect of Golden State’s four NBA championship teams, said on an ESPN conference call. “Because if you want to evaluate a front office, look at what it was when they got there and what it is now.
“I don’t think anybody would disagree that the Knicks are [in] a much better place than they were prior to Leon, [William Wesley] and [Tom] Thibodeau showing up. They made the playoffs.
“That’s a big improvement. Pretty close to home court in playoffs. I think they would have hoped for a better playoff run. But still, I mean, pretty darn good.”
Myers’ remarks about Rose, his former agent with CAA, mirrored those made this past weekend by Karl-Anthony Towns, the Edison native and former star of St. Joe’s-Metuchen.
When his Minnesota Timberwolves were in town, Towns, 27, said, “They made multiple playoffs, made some good runs, brought hope and excitement to the Garden.” I don’t believe Rose did a poor job.
Towns, the former first-round selection out of Kentucky, has been associated with the Knicks for a number of years.
No matter whether he joins the Knicks or not, according to Myers, Rose has improved New York’s appeal to trade partners and free agents.
“The Knicks…are positioned extremely well,” Myers said. “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.
“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.”
“Now it’s viable. 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.”
The sole free agent the Knicks signed this summer was shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo, who joined Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Ryan Arcidiacono as four players who previously played for Villanova.
Donovan Mitchell came “very close” to being traded to the Knicks by the Utah Jazz in 2022, but the deal never materialized. As an alternative, he joined the Cleveland Cavaliers, who defeated the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs.
In the future, the Knicks may be interested in superstars like Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, or another unrestricted free agent. Myers said that the Knicks can still improve without bringing in a great player by just bringing in the appropriate guys.
“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, adding that Andre Iguodala was that player on the Warriors’ championship teams.
“And I think the Knicks have been patient, and at least they haven’t done anything irrational in my mind. 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.
“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.”
“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,” Myers said. “I think that they want to go from good to great. 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.”