After another disappointing season where the New York Knicks finished with an abysmal record of 32-50, the organization is, once again, looking for a new head coach. After firing former head coach Derek Fisher in February, the team is rumored to be looking for a more stable and experienced candidate as their next coach. While Fisher had his positives, Knicks’ management just did not believe that he was the man to turn their struggling franchise around. No decision has been made, but the latest rumors believe that former Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel and former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt could be the top candidates for the Knicks’ vacant head coaching position.
While results are expected from any coach that is lucky enough to secure an NBA job, many around the league believe that Vogel and Blatt were given raw deals with their former teams. After losing Paul George to a serious injury a few years ago, Vogel’s Pacers remained a gritty and competitive team the entire time. With George finally back to full strength, the Pacers appeared to be regaining their prior form. While their 45-37 record only qualified them for the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, they managed to take the No. 2 seed Toronto Raptors to seven games in their recent playoff series.
As ESPN notes, Blatt was fired in January after leading the Cavaliers to an outstanding record of 30-11. While reports surfaced regarding LeBron James’ respect for Blatt and the feelings towards him in the locker room, the bottom line is that the team was successful under his leadership. After losing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in the early part of the 2015 NBA playoffs, Blatt still played his part in leading the Cavaliers to the finals.
With Kristaps Porzingis entering his second season, the Knicks are looking for a coach that can aid in his development. At 32-years-old, Carmelo Anthony will likely be back with the Knicks next season, if he is not traded, and he is still an elite NBA talent. While the Knicks are unlikely to compete next season, they can work towards a successful building year. Additionally, they are likely to secure one of the higher picks in the upcoming NBA draft. It is essential that they hire a competent coach that can command respect from the veteran players.
As the New York Post reports, the Knicks have already contacted Vogel’s agent to gauge his interest in the position.
“The Knicks made contact Friday with the agent for Frank Vogel, but have not yet requested an interview, according to two NBA sources. According to one source, Knicks general manager Steve Mills did his due diligence in contacting Vogel’s reps. The source said Phil Jackson has not made a decision on how to proceed. The key to the exploratory phone call was finding out whether Vogel would have interest in the job, triangle offense and all — and it seems he does.”
Since both parties appear to be interested, it is likely that there is at least an interview in the near future. As Fansided reports, it appears as though the interest between Blatt and the Knicks is also mutual.
“Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt left the April interview with Jackson thinking he is a legitimate candidate to get the job, according to the New York Times‘ Harvey Araton. According to the report from Araton, Blatt pitched Jackson on being open to implementing the triangle offense he is hell-bent on running with his team and cited his experience at Princeton where he played in a deliberate five-man offense.”
In addition to Blatt and Vogel, Knicks interim head coach Kurt Rambis is also a candidate to be named the new head coach. While Rambis is not a sexy name like the other candidates, Knicks president Phil Jackson apparently sees him as a viable option. In addition to Jackson already being familiar with Rambis and his tendencies, he also had him attend a “triangle offense seminar” recently, as reported by the New York Daily News.
With the New York Knicks still in need of a new head coach, rumors will continue to link them to former Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel and former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt. Vogel is probably the top candidate at this point in time, but that could all change after he interviews with the organization.
[Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]