Leon Rose came out of hiding to tell the Knicks Indoor Network that he was “happy” with his roster after he missed the playoffs and lost Donovan Mitchell.
“We went through this process (to try to trade for Donovan Mitchell) and at the end of the day we made the decision to stay,” Rose said at MSG Network, which is owned by James Dolan. “And we are happy with where we are. Looking back at the summer, we feel good about what happened.”
Rose, the former agent turned head of the Knicks, promoted his off-season spending on RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Jalen Brunson. Barrett’s four-year, $107 million signing – giving the 23-year-old the highest average salary in franchise history – was delayed until September as Rose dangled him in business talks with Mitchell’s jazz.
Eventually, the Jazz traded Mitchell for Cleveland. According to sources, the big stop was in negotiations over protected enlistment choices. The Jazz wanted more of the Knicks. Barrett, a native of Toronto, sat out of Team Canada matches this summer while waiting for his contract extension.
He became the first first-round draft pick for Nick to re-sign on a junior deal since Charlie Ward in 1999.
“One of our main goals was to create internal stability. Signing RJ Barrett. First player extension since Charlie Ward,” Rose said. “We retained Mitchell Robinson (for four years, $60 million). He’s a player who has evolved in the last few years and we feel very lucky to have been able to keep him. We got the #1 guard in free agency this summer in Jalen Bronson (for four years, $104 million). So we feel really good about summer.”
Despite his optimistic attitude about the summer, Rose coveted Mitchell and lobbied hard for the All-Stars. Mitchell thought he was headed to New York and hinted that there was more to the story. Some of the Knicks members thought they offered a better package than the Caves and were skeptical about giving them a fair shot at landing Mitchell.
“Very close. I won’t say more than that,” Mitchell told ESPN. “I know a little more than most people. But very close.”
They took the “best offer,” said Justin Zanic, general manager of Jazz.
“It was the best show,” Zanic said. “I think (the Caves) was an opportunity to add to their squad to open a window with Donovan. To get a good return, you have to give up something good as well. They gave up a lot for sure.”
Rose again referred to his 11 first-round picks over the next seven years, which were maintained by not trading for Mitchell.
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“By not making a move, we are flooding into a venture capital that you know is great currency in the market,” Rose said. “And something that will help us get better as we go forward.”
By only speaking to the team’s intranet, Rose continued to boycott the team’s outside media. It’s a policy dictated by Dolan and only dismantled by league-mandated availability. Rose was never authorized to speak to the media, but he held a session with former reporters a year ago near the height of his tenure, shortly after the Knicks exceeded expectations for a fourth-place finish in the East in 2021.
He has not spoken to outside media since then. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the Knicks disappointed last season while finishing 11th in the East.
The Knicks released preview clips of her interview with Rose on the team’s Twitter account. He also paid tribute to signing Bronson, whose father Rick is a close friend of Rose.
“It fills one of the biggest voids we have. This is an important role on our team,” Rose said. We needed that person who was going to stabilize us.”
Rick was hired by the Knicks as an off-season assistant coach. He has not been in the NBA since resigning as Timberwolves’ assistant in 2018 amid allegations of inappropriate behavior with women. In 2014, Bronson was found not guilty of sexually assaulting a masseuse while working as a Bulls assistant coach.
The Knicks have neither commented nor announced the appointment of Rick Bronson, although it is listed on the team’s website.