As of this writing, the New York Knicks currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 2-8 record. This has led to speculation that the team might be preparing to fire head coach David Fizdale, especially after Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry seemed to blame him for the team’s struggles in a postgame press conference on Sunday. However, a new report suggests that New York won’t be short of options if they decide to sack Fizdale and replace him with someone else.
In a report published on Monday, Heavy’s Sean Deveney brought up Mills and Perry’s comments on Sunday after the Knicks’ 108-87 home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where the team executives brought up New York’s “lack of consistency and execution.” He noted that this could be their way of pinning the blame on subpar coaching, adding that if they want to fight for a playoff spot, it would make sense for the Knicks to hire a permanent replacement for Fizdale should he be fired — as opposed to an interim coach like current assistant Keith Smart.
Talking about the potential candidates to replace Fizdale, Deveney mentioned multiple hometown choices, including former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson and TNT analyst Kenny Smith. The former was described as an “obvious fit” for the Knicks, given the fact that he was a candidate for the team’s coaching job in 2018, as well as his past reputation as a collegiate star for St. John’s.
Despite his past success with the Warriors and his 17-year career as an NBA player, Jackson hasn’t coached in the league in 2014. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, former Golden State wingman Andre Iguodala alleged during a podcast appearance in June that Jackson may have been blackballed by the NBA due to his views on certain sensitive topics.
"We're two games from the 8th seed"
— Knicks HC David Fizdale pic.twitter.com/in8MyyfZko
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) November 11, 2019
Regarding Smith, Deveney noted that he was also a candidate for the Knicks coaching vacancy last year, having “made no bones” about wanting the job. Interestingly, the Heavy NBA insider also quoted a quip Smith made to TMZ just a few days after New York hired Fizdale.
“They made the right choice but not the best choice.”
Apart from the two native New Yorkers, Deveney suggested a number of dark horse candidates, including Chauncey Billups, the former Detroit Pistons star who has had a close working relationship with Perry for well over a decade. However, it was noted that Billups has been “gun-shy” about coaching, having declined Perry’s offer to join the Orlando Magic staff in 2016, when the latter was working as their assistant general manager.
Last in Deveney’s list of possible replacements for Fizdale were two proven NBA coaching veterans — Mike Woodson and Tom Thibodeau. Woodson, who was most recently a candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching vacancy this summer, led the Knicks to a 54-28 record in the 2012-13 season — the last time New York made the playoffs, according to Basketball-Reference.
Thibodeau, meanwhile, once worked as an assistant to former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy for seven seasons, though Deveney wrote that it would be a “shocker” if the ex-Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves head coach gets to replace Fizdale.