Steve Mills has found the person to help him work through the Carmelo Anthony situation and assist with future Knicks personnel decisions. Longtime NBA executive Scott Perry reached an agreement Thursday to become the Knicks’ general manager, a league source confirmed.
The deal isn’t official because the Knicks and Kings are working out compensation for Perry. USA Today reported that the Kings were seeking cash and not necessarily draft picks.
The Knicks met with Perry on Thursday after receiving permission from the Kings to interview him for their front-office vacancy, a source said. Perry will work under Mills, who will be elevated from general manager to team president. Mills has been running the Knicks’ basketball department since Phil Jackson was let go two weeks ago.
ESPN reported last night that the Knicks are putting Anthony trade talks on hold and want to speak to him about staying. The report said the Knicks would like Anthony to meet with Perry and Jeff Hornacek and see if they can work together. It’s unlikely that Anthony will go for that because the Knicks publicly made it clear they want to move on without him. Perry’s arrival probably won’t deter Anthony from wanting to play for a contender in Houston with close friend Chris Paul and James Harden.
Now that Mills has his right-hand man, he will go back to trying to settle the Melo-drama. The Knicks have been discussing scenarios with the Rockets that include three- and four-team deals. Anthony has a no-trade clause he reportedly would be willing to waive to play for Houston or Cleveland.
The Rockets, Knicks and Anthony’s camp have been motivated to make a deal. The hang-up has been finding a team to take Houston’s Ryan Anderson, who has three years and $61 million remaining on his contract.
The respected and connected Perry, 53, was hired by Kings GM Vlade Divac as executive vice president of basketball operations less than three months ago. Considered a good talent evaluator, Perry had a hand in what many believe has been a very good offseason for the Kings. They added De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles and Frank Mason on draft night and signed free agents George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter.
A former college coach, Perry has worked in the NBA since 2000 for the Pistons, SuperSonics (now Thunder), Magic and Kings. This is the first time he will be a general manager.
Perry was the Pistons’ director of player personnel under Joe Dumars from 2001-07. They assembled a roster that reached six consecutive Eastern Conference finals and won the NBA championship in 2004. Perry also spent a year as assistant GM in Seattle when the Sonics drafted Kevin Durant. Perry returned to Detroit as vice president of basketball operations before spending the past five years as Orlando’s assistant GM.
Perry’s hiring came as somewhat of a surprise. There was speculation that the Knicks might promote from within after former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin withdrew from consideration.
Perry’s appointment could be a good sign for Hornacek. A popular opinion was that he could be in trouble because Jackson hired him, but Hornacek and Perry are represented by the same agency and Hornacek has a good working relationship with Mills. He is expected to be able to run the type of offense he wants instead of being forced to run the triangle.
Mills and Perry also must find a point guard to help mentor rookie Frank Ntilikina and Ron Baker. The Knicks have only about $1.4 million in cap space. They could try to get one in a trade and could open more space if they trade Anthony.
Meet the Knicks’ new GM:
College: Wayne State
n Head coach: Eastern Kentucky (1997-2000)
n Assistant coach: Michigan, Cal-Berkeley and Detroit Mercy
n College scout (Detroit, 2000-02)
n Director of player personnel (Detroit, 2002-07)
n Assistant general manager (Seattle, 2007-08)
n Vice president of basketball operations (Detroit, 2008-12)
n Assistant general manager (Orlando, 2012-17)
n Executive VP of basketball operations (Sacramento, 2017)