The New York Knicks are rumored to be zeroing in on David Blatt, with star forward Carmelo Anthony now throwing his support behind the ousted Cleveland Cavaliers head coach.
The Knicks have been quiet on their coaching vacancy that many had expected would be filled by interim head coach Kurt Rambis, but the tide may be turning toward Blatt thanks to Anthony’s recent endorsement.
The New York Post reported that Carmelo would prefer Blatt to be the Knicks’ next head coach.
Marc Berman wrote, “The source stated Anthony believes Blatt, because of his vast international experience before joining the Cavaliers, would be better for 7-foot-3 Latvian phenom Kristaps Porzingis than… Rambis. The source said Anthony feels Blatt could develop Porzingis into an All-Star quicker with his international touch.”
Blatt was fired in January despite bringing the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in the previous year and owning the best record in the Eastern Conference at 30-11 — the highest winning percentage ever for a coach who ended up being fired. His firing was reportedly the result of a strained relationship with some of his players, including star LeBron James.
Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James are good friends off the court, and the fact that Carmelo would still back Blatt despite the tension between Blatt and James is seen as a big boost for his chances of getting the job in New York.
Carmelo Anthony says he'll 'absolutely' play for the Knicks in 2016-17 + a note on Carmelo & David Blatt: https://t.co/9tn1lr613o
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) May 12, 2016
There is some competition for David Blatt, as this week the Houston Rockets brought in the former Cavs coach for an interview. The Rockets have been widening their search for a new coach, interviewing their interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff along with Chris Finch, Sam Cassell, and Mike D’Antoni, ESPN reports. Bickerstaff has already withdrawn his name from consideration, but the field is reportedly widening.
That could mean the New York Knicks have to move quickly if they want to snag David Blatt, but New York may have an inherent advantage in the race. Knicks president Phil Jackson reportedly wants his team to run the triangle offense next year, and Blatt has some experience in complicated schemes.
Harvey Araton of the New York Times wrote that David Blatt felt he had a strong interview with New York.
“He pitched himself to Jackson as a defensive-minded coach who, while playing collegiately at Princeton, was reared on the joy of a deliberate, five-man offense and therefore amenable to embracing Jackson’s beloved triangle. He reminded Jackson that he initially went to Cleveland in 2014 to coach a young, undisciplined Cavaliers team, a work in progress. That was before James suddenly returned as the homecoming King, when the Cavs were essentially the Knicks, minus the veteran shotmaking of Carmelo Anthony.”
Before the news that Carmelo Anthony supports David Blatt as the next head coach of the New York Knicks, CBS Sports noted that the Knicks have failed to move forward on Blatt and were likely leaning toward Rambis.
Many insiders believe that Carmelo Anthony doesn’t want to waste time on a longer rebuild that Kurt Rambis would bring and is ready to operate in “win-now mode.” He will turn 32 this month, and his window could be rapidly closing. With Kristaps Porzingis on the rise, this could be the best chance the Knicks have for a title run.
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) May 11, 2016
If the rumors are true and the New York Knicks do end up making David Blatt their next head coach, he could already have a leg up in teaching the complicated triangle offense. Phil Jackson reportedly held a seminar for players in mid-April to get the fundamentals down, allowing the next coach to hit the ground running.
[Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]