Knicks fire Steve Mills

Howard Megdal

Everyone figured the New York Knicks would be active during this week, ahead of the February 6 trade deadline.

No one saw this move coming, though.

The Knicks have fired Steve Mills, team president, with just 48 hours until the deadline, making Scott Perry the interim head of basketball operations, according to numerous reports.

UPDATE 1:08 PM EST: The Knicks made it official.

“Steve and I have come to the decision that it would be best for him to leave his role as president of the New York Knicks,” Knicks Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Dolan said in a release. “We thank Steve for his many years of service to our organization and look forward to continuing our relationship with him as part of our board.”

The decision, in the broader sense, isn't a huge surprise. Mills has presided over what feels to fans like endless losing seasons. His plan to score big in free agency this past summer yielded little, and the Knicks are 15-36 this season, 7.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“It has been a great honor to represent the Knicks,” Mills said. “I will always be grateful to Jim for giving me the chance to represent this franchise and I’m disappointed we were unable to achieve success for New York. I would like to thank the staff and the players for their hard work during my tenure. I will always be a Knicks fan.”

The Knicks also announced that Mills will be nominated to the board of the soon-to-be-finalized standalone sports company, the entertainment portion of the company in the midst of being spun off.

The surprise of it all is it happening now. Mills has been on the hot seat since the team began 2-8, leading to a press conference held by Mills and Perry, and especially since the team fired David Fizdale as head coach.

Fire him weeks ago, and the Knicks could have put together a trade deadline plan, at the very least knowing how and where they want to trade veterans. Wait until after the season, and there's stability in the group communicating with other teams through this round of rapid-fire negotiations, too.

But with 48 hours until a bunch of Knicks assets cease to be of future use to the team — that would be every veteran who, after Thursday, simply becomes a player who can help at the margins of a 15-36 team, then is no longer under contract — the Knicks are weathering some additional self-inflicted turmoil.

What this means for who is making final calls, whether Perry, similarly implicated by the failures of the recent roster moves, has carte blanche (or even should) is all unknown.

Chaos is how bad decisions happen. The Knicks have proven that, again and again.

It appears they've chosen chaos once more at another key moment.