The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers have former agents running their front offices. The New York Knicks may follow that model.
Golden State hired Wasserman Media Group’s Bob Myers back in 2011 while Los Angeles brought on Landmark Sports founder Rob Pelinka in 2017. Both have since been promoted to become president of basketball operations for those marquee franchises.
New York moved on from their president of basketball operations Steve Mills on Tuesday morning, per reports. Mills began working with the Knicks in 2003 and took over as their president of basketball operations in July 2017.
General manager Scott Perry will take over his role in the interim, per several reports. But according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the Knicks’ ownership group is considering replacing Mills with an NBPA certified agent.
SNY’s Ian Begley reported that CAA’s Austin Brown (co-head of basketball for the company) is one of the agents being considered for the position.
Brown currently represents last year’s No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. Other clients include former NBA All-Star D’Angelo Russell (who has been linked to New York in recent trade rumors), Donovan Mitchell, Jaren Jackson Jr., Kyle Kuzma and various other prominent players.
This would follow a trend for the Knicks, who were known to be swayed by the agency when Carmelo Anthony (represented by CAA’s Leon Rose) was the star player for the team.
Here is what Kurt Helin wrote about the connections to the agency at the time (via NBC Sports):
“If you listen to the scuttlebutt around the league, Andrea Bargnani is a Knick because he is a CAA/Leon Rose client just like ‘Melo (why else would you take on that contract?). Why did the Knicks give a roster spot to Chris Smith, JR’s brother? CAA. That’s just the tip of the rumor iceberg.”
Before 13-time NBA champion Phil Jackson took over basketball operations for the Knicks in 2014, he “vowed to relinquish the team’s close ties” with the prominent agency.
Their former head coach Mike Woodson, who was represented by CAA, was fired by the organization just a few weeks after the comments by Jackson. JR Smith, a former CAA client, was traded by the Knicks to the Cleveland Cavaliers a few months later. Bargnani played just one more season for New York under Jackson’s leadership.
While the team publicly distanced themselves from CAA’s influence over the past few years, it is no surprise to see them considering Brown or another agent, considering Myers and Pelinka have had success in their current roles.
For what it is worth: Across town and in a different league back in October 2018, the New York Mets hired former CAA Co-Head of Baseball Brodie Van Wagenen as their general manager back in 2018. Before joining the franchise, he represented several players (e.g. Yoenis Cespedes, Jacob DeGrom, Robinson Cano and even minor leaguer Tim Tebow) on the team.
Basketball, DunkWire, Knicks, NBA, Andrea Bargnani, Austin Brown, Bob Myers, Carmelo Anthony, D'Angelo Russell, Donovan Mitchell, Jaren Jackson Jr., Kyle Kuzma, Leon Rose, Mike Woodson, Phil Jackson, Rob Pelinka, Scott Perry, Steve Mills, Zion Williamson, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks