Kings vice president of basketball operations Scott Perry reached a deal Thursday to become the New York Knicks’ general manager, according to multiple reports.
Perry would report to Steve Mills, who would be elevated from general manager to team president.
The Knicks have been looking for someone to lead their basketball operations since parting with Phil Jackson last month.
The Kings could have denied Perry the chance to speak with the Knicks; he’d been a vital part of an offseason widely viewed as a success. But they allowed him the opportunity pursue the GM position, which he’s never held despite a long reputation as one of the league’s most respected executives.
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Instead of blocking Perry from an elusive opportunity, the Kings are expected to receive compensation in the form of cash. CSN Chicago first reported the deal.
Perry joined the Kings in April after five seasons with Orlando to work under GM Vlade Divac, and he might have been Sacramento’s most important offseason pickup.
Perry, well connected in college and pro ranks, has been credited around the league for giving Sacramento’s front office much-needed credibility. Many league observers have viewed this as a banner offseason for the Kings between the draft and free agency.
Perry was tasked with helping repair the Kings’ relationships around the league and shifting from a reputation of dysfunction.
The Kings had struggled to get top-level draft prospects to work out for the team in recent years, but that changed this spring with agents expressing faith in Perry. Free agency was a much smoother process, too.
Some agents and league executives complained the Kings were difficult negotiation partners since Divac took over in 2015. They pointed to inconsistencies in the front office’s understanding of the collective bargaining agreement, as well as rules pertaining to development league players.
The Kings were fined in March 2016 and the Reno Bighorns, their affiliate, had to forfeit a game for using an ineligible player when the Kings sent Duje Dukan to play in a game during the All-Star break, a rules violation because he was on an NBA contract.
Some league executives, speaking on condition of anonymity, question the Kings’ direction should they lose Perry’s guidance.
The front office is still in a better position than it was a year ago. Assistant general manager Ken Catanella, an expert on the collective bargaining agreement, has been involved for more than a year and the team hired Luke Bornn as vice president of strategy and analytics.
Mike Bratz has been around since 2013 and serves as director of college scouting.
The Kings could look to replace Perry with an experienced executive such as former Minnesota general manager Milt Newton.