New York Post

Mills, Perry saying all the right things

- Fred Kerber

THERE were promises of hard work and developmen­t and cooperatio­n. And there were no grandiose promises of titles, no sickening arrogance when résumés were rubbed in everyone’s face and definitely no follow-up tweets that an ancient languages expert would have trouble decipherin­g.

And during the Knicks’ press conference at their Westcheste­r practice facility where Steve Mills was introduced as president and Scott Perry came aboard as general manager, there was one other notable absence.

Nobody said anything blatantly stupid.

You take progress where you can get it, especially when you are coming off another lottery season, and you have one playoff series win in 17 years.

So when the subject of Carmelo Anthony arose, no one said the organizati­on would be better off if the 10-time All-Star would just climb into a cubbyhole somewhere and sell insurance. Mills said what he should have.

“If there’s an opportunit­y that works for Carmelo and works for us, then we’ll look at some kind of trade,” Mills said. “But we also feel that Carmelo could easily be a part of our team next year.”

Hey, no one said they were completely honest. Anthony returning is a stretch. But if they want to say he’s coming back, that’s their choice. Picky, picky. But not stupid. So maybe there will be change for the Knicks, who didn’t seem content only to win the press conference as they did with Phil Jackson in March 2014. And everyone knows how swell matters went after Jackson took over. That appointmen­t became as successful as the trades for Eddy Curry and Andrea Bargnani.

Mills and Perry seemed humble, honest, profession­al. There was a consistenc­y to their message: youth, athleticis­m, developmen­t, building. Now, will these two guys bring the answers the Knicks have sought for a couple decades? Only time will tell. But for one day, they said all the right things. It was all about the future and doing it the right way.

“I can’t really comment on anything prior. I’m looking forward,” Perry said.

You’d look ahead, too, if you were him. Not much attractive is reflecting in the Knicks’ rearview mirror.

One obvious point arises. Who is running the basketball show with two men who will eventually huddle over one decision? Mills stressed how, when he first joined the organizati­on, he held a dual role. He stressed how he wanted a general manager.

“One of the things I made clear was I thought we needed to bring in a general manager and Scott was one of the people I had on my list,” Mills said of his chats with owner James Dolan, who, face it, is the guy with the most and ultimately only say that matters.

“And I do believe that the things we’re talking about today are the things I’d do differentl­y,” Mills said with all emphasis on moving forward, youth, draft picks, developmen­t for a “group of guys growing together, which may take longer to do. It will take longer to do.”

Mills was asked directly about the power structure. Obviously, he is the president. Obviously, he hired Perry. Obviously he will have final say. But Mills insisted it will be a co-venture and everything will be discussed and analyzed and Perry will have “room” to make decisions.

“I’m going to give Scott the room to make basketball decisions and make recommenda­tions to me. He’s going to have a chance to manage the coaching staff, manage the scouting staff and make recommenda­tions as to where we should go as a basketball organizati­on,” Mills said. “We’ll be partners in that in the sense that he’ll come to me with his recommenda­tion and we’ll debate it back and forth. But at the end of the day, I’m giving him the room to make those decisions.”

And then he’ll make the call. But it was the smart thing to say.

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