Since being hired away from Creative Artists Agency in March, Knicks president Leon Rose has done some nice things.
Rose hired respected scouts, an NBA mover and shaker named William Wesley, an acclaimed head coach in Tom Thibodeau and a slew of revered player-development coaches.
What Rose forgot to do was upgrade last season’s 21-45 roster.
With a rushed training camp beginning Tuesday with individual workouts, the Knicks look a lot like last season’s edition — a losing team without a star in the house.
Las Vegas has pegged the Over/Under on Knicks wins at 22.5 in a 72-game season — and out of the playoffs for an eighth straight year. Some scouts think that number is generous.
Though draft night was a success with college player of the year Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley being selected, the Knicks league-high $40 million of cap space didn’t amount to a major signing.
The club still is stuck with $18.5 million of cap space. It can carry that payroll into the season to provide trade flexibility if a star beyond Russell Westbrook or Victor Oladipo becomes available.
The added bonus is the Knicks are set up for a starry 2021 free agency with potentially $70 million of cap space and a likely high lottery seed for a loaded 2021 draft class.
So the future actually looks cheery — though we’ve heard that sentiment many times before.
“They took a conservative approach by signing one-year, stopgap players,’’ ESPN’s cap guru and former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks told The Post. “This is a huge year for RJ [Barrett], [Kevin] Knox and Obi from a development stage. It’s important for the young kids to develop this season. That will be the draw to free agents.”
This wasn’t Rose’s Plan A, however. When Rose came aboard, The Post has learned, he talked internally about his grandiose plans of trading for point guard Chris Paul, his former CAA client, to hasten the rebuild.
Then Rose planned to sign ex-Knick Carmelo Anthony, Paul’s buddy. Anthony also is a former Rose client who rejuvenated his career in Portland.
According to a source, Paul wanted to stay close to his son in Los Angeles and was not feeling the Knicks. Paul wound up being traded to Phoenix. On the record, the veteran All-Star point guard said a New York move without the trappings of a packed Garden wasn’t appealing.
So Rose went into free agency looking to bolster the moribund point-guard position but lost out on his top targets that included Fred VanVleet, who never gave the Knicks a passing glance while re-signing with Toronto.
Rose wound up bringing back starting point guard Elfrid Payton, also a CAA client.
Rose and Wesley, a former CAA adviser who is close to the Kentucky basketball factory, get a pass for now. But the honeymoon will be over if 2021 passes without a star being drawn to New York.
The burning question is whether a win-now Thibodeau can deal with this rebuilding roster filled with five former Kentucky players, none of whom has reached his potential. Thibodeau is not a patient man.
Thibodeau has got a major challenge on his hands in figuring out a sensible rotation with so many interchangeable pieces.
There’s no surefire No. 1 option. No starting small forward, point guard or even center as their smartest signee, Nerlens Noel, will battle youngster Mitchell Robinson.
Rose has stayed in his bunker, having not addressed the media since July, when he announced Thibodeau’s hiring.
Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 ban for indoor sporting events, fans are not expected to be permitted inside the Garden when the regular season starts Dec. 22.
That’s bad news for owner James Dolan, who has no revenue coming in from any of his venues. A couple of silver linings exist for Dolan, however. He likely will be on the hook for a meager payroll that won’t come close to hitting the $109 million salary cap.
And maybe even better: The lack of fans means no cries of “Sell The Team’’ — a late-season chant that did not sit well with the owner who has no intentions of doing so.