John Calipari Thinks Leon Rose Will Turn Knicks Around: 'May Take a Year or Two'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 25, 2020

Kentucky head coach John Calipari reacts to a play during an NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Knoxville, Tenn. Kentucky won 77-64. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne/Associated Press

The 21-45 New York Knicks were 12th in the Eastern Conference and headed for their seventh straight season outside the playoffs when the NBA campaign was suspended on March 11.

Still, there is some hope for a Knicks franchise that features young talent (e.g. rookie swingman RJ Barrett and second-year center Mitchell Robinson) and a new president in Leon Rose, the longtime agent whose client list included Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul.

One prominent college basketball coach is encouraged by the Knicks' direction, at least, with Kentucky's John Calipari saying on a conference call (h/t Adam Zagoria for Forbes) that he believes Rose is the person to bring New York to better days.

"I believe he's going to do a great job but it's not going to be in the first month. It may take a year or two for everyone to say, this is the path we've been waiting for, this is it," Calipari noted.

As Zagoria noted, Calipari and Rose are old friends.

"He's a gatherer and I believe that's what the Knicks need right now,” Calipari said. “A gatherer who can bring things together and make it a culture that players want to be in because they know this is about all of us.

"And it's rough place to be. New York is not easy. It's kind of like Philadelphia, it's all good if you're winning. If you're losing, hard places to be as an athlete. But if you win, if you compete for championships, if you win a championship there's no better place to do it than in New York. And I think he's going to bring those people together and you're going to see."

Rose should have room to do nearly whatever he wants with the roster shortly, as the Knicks only have part of big man Julius Randle's contract committed to the 2021-22 salary cap and nothing else, per Basketball Reference.

New York also has five players 22 years old and younger in its rotation, so it isn't as if the team is bereft of potential.

Still, Rose has a lot of work to do to turn around a franchise that has just three winning seasons since 2001, all of which came between 2010-11 and 2012-13.

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