New York Knicks

David Blatt Still In Mix For Knicks Job

The Rockets are expected to interview David Blatt, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post, who hears from a source who says Blatt is still in the mix for the Knicks head coaching position. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported late Sunday that Blatt has an interview scheduled with the Kings, the other NBA team looking for a head coach. The Lakers had reportedly planned to interview Blatt before they instead moved quickly to hire Luke Walton.

The Knicks believe the 56-year-old Blatt will be a head coach somewhere next season, be it in the NBA or overseas, and they aren’t considering the 56-year-old Blatt for a job as an assistant to Kurt Rambis, as previous reports suggested they were, Berman hears. Blatt interviewed a week ago with Knicks team president Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills, but Rambis remains the front-runner, according to Berman, who adds that if the Knicks pass on Rambis for the head coaching job, they’d likely offer to make him an assistant to Blatt.

Phil Jackson Respects Nate McMillan's 'Hard Edge'

Sacramento isn’t alone in its admiration for the former SuperSonics and Trail Blazers head coach, as Knicks team president Phil Jackson respects his “hard edge,” according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. It nonetheless doesn’t appear as though McMillan is a candidate for the Knicks job or any vacancy other than Sacramento’s at this point. Marc Stein of ESPN.com first identified the 51-year-old McMillan among those in the mix for the Kings opening.

Kings To Interview David Blatt

The Kings have scheduled an interview for early this week with former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Blatt was one of the first names connected to the Sacramento coaching vacancy and has been a rumored candidate for several jobs since Cleveland fired him in January.

Blatt met with the Knicks this week to discuss the possibility of replacing interim coach Kurt Rambis and was believed to be a candidate for the Lakers’ job before they hired Luke Walton. During his brief stay in Cleveland, Blatt led the Cavaliers to the 2015 NBA Finals and compiled an 83-40 record.

Blatt will be at least the fifth candidate to interview for the head coaching position, according to James Ham of CSNBayArea. Ham reports that Sam Mitchell, Mike Woodson, Kevin McHale and Vinny Del Negro have all gone through formal interviews.

Indiana assistant Nate McMillan may soon join that group, Ham reports, depending what the Pacers do in tonight’s Game 7 with the Raptors. McMillan has a 266-269 career record in 12 years as head coach of the SuperSonics and Blazers.

The Kings are also planning to interview Charlotte assistant Patrick Ewing, whose team was eliminated from the playoffs today. Ham says Mark Jackson of ESPN and Grizzlies assistant Elston Turner are also on the list to be interviewed.

Once the interviews are complete, GM/executive Vlade Divac plans to whittle the list down to three finalists that he will present to Sacramento management. Despite earlier reports that the Kings wanted to find a coach this week, Ham says there is no timetable. The organization has been without a coach since it fired George Karl after the season ended.

Latest on Luke Walton, Lakers

The Lakers will give new head coach Luke Walton a five-year contract with four seasons guaranteed, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The deal will be valued at $5MM to $6MM annually with incentives. Walton, who was hired Friday night to take over for Byron Scott, met the media today to answer questions about his plans in L.A.:

  • Despite playing under Knicks president Phil Jackson, Walton doesn’t plan to use the triangle, tweets Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. “I don’t think the triangle’s the most appropriate offense for the players that they have down there,” Walton said, adding that he plans a style similar to Golden State’s.
  • Walton met with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and co-owner and executive vice president Jim Buss on Thursday in Oakland to talk about the job (Twitter link). “I left the meeting thinking it went well,” Walton said. “I obviously didn’t know it would get done that quickly.” (Twitter link from Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times).
  • L.A. executives provided a detailed vision of the organization during that meeting, including several free agents they want to pursue this summer (Twitter link). “I think they have some young, talented players,” Walton said. “Obviously you need to mix in some vets. I’m excited about the pieces they have.” (Twitter link)
  • Walton, who will remain an assistant with the Warriors until their playoff run is complete, said it was hard to break the news to Golden State head coach Steve Kerr“I was a little bit nervous about making the call [to Kerr] because we have such a good thing going here,” Walton said (Twitter link). Several Warriors players said they will miss Walton when he leaves the team. “He’s obviously a guy that we want around but … he deserved it and it’s a dream job for him,” said Draymond Green (Twitter link). “It’s been very important for me to have someone to vent to … that’s how our relationship started.” (Twitter link).

Walton has dreamed of running the Lakers since Jackson used to bring him into coaching meetings during his time as a player with the team, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. She believes it’s the only job that would have made him leave Golden State, although he planned to interview with other teams to go through the experience. Shelburne calls Walton the “biggest free agent the Lakers have landed in years,” as he became the league’s most sought-after assistant when he led the Warriors to a 39-4 start during Kerr’s absence with health issues.

Walton’s first move should be to add some experienced assistants, opines J.A. Adande in an ESPN 5-on-5 chat. With Walton never officially having been a head coach before, Adande says he could benefit from a couple of veterans on the bench in the same way that Alvin Gentry and Ron Adams helped Kerr last season.

'Melo Reasserts Desire For Wide Coaching Search

Carmelo Anthony doubled down today on his belief that the Knicks should have a broad coaching search, adding as he spoke in an appearance with Frank Isola of the New York Daily News on SiriusXM NBA Radio that team president Phil Jackson hasn’t consulted him for his input on the coaching job. The Knicks reportedly didn’t reach out to Tom Thibodeau, who was apparently Anthony’s preferred choice, and Anthony told Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com he thinks Thibodeau would have taken the Knicks job if offered (ESPN Now link).

  • Anthony defended the triangle offense when he went on The Dan Patrick Show today, Begley points out (Twitter link), and he said in his SiriusXM spot that his goal is to retire with the Knicks and that he believes in Jackson, as Isola notes in the same piece. Still, Anthony made it clear that he feels he has no choice but to ride with the Zen Master, Isola relays. “I have to. My fate is in his hands,” Anthony said. “I have to believe in him. If I believe that I’m going to be here, I don’t have anybody else to kind of put my fate in.”

Knicks, David Blatt Meet About Coaching Job

THURSDAY, 9:37am: Berman and Isola both refer to the meeting as an interview, and Mills was present, Berman writes. It was more than just a courtesy visit, according to Berman, who nonetheless maintains Blatt is a long shot for the job. A person close to Blatt believes a scenario is in play that would allow him to become the Knicks lead assistant under Rambis, Isola reports, postulating that such a move would make Rambis an easier sell to owner James Dolan. Still, Blatt and the Knicks discussed only the head coaching position Monday, a source told Berman. The Lakers reportedly plan to interview Blatt for their head coaching job, too.

WEDNESDAY, 10:09am: David Blatt met Monday with Knicks team president Phil Jackson about the team’s coaching job, league sources tell The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). It’s uncertain whether the visit was merely a perfunctory engagement, and it’s not entirely clear whether it constituted an interview, as the Knicks were involved in a back and forth over the definition of an interview in the wake of Jackson’s recent discussion with Luke Walton. Still, Marc Berman of the New York Post previously reported that the team had been in contact with the former Cavs coach, whom Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com first identified as a candidate the Knicks are considering.

Jackson met Tuesday with agents who represent both him and interim coach Kurt Rambis, according to Berman, who hears Rambis remains the favorite for the job. Still, Blatt’s adaptability holds appeal to Jackson, who respects the Princeton offense the coach has employed at times, as Berman previously wrote. Blatt would also be willing to run the triangle, one executive said to Berman. Blatt and Knicks GM Steve Mills have a deep connection that dates to their days as teammates at Princeton. Blatt was an usher at Mills’ wedding, according to Berman.

New York’s coaching search has been narrow, with little chatter about anyone beyond Rambis, Blatt and Walton. Carmelo Anthony has publicly called for the team to at least listen to candidates other than Rambis. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News heard Anthony preferred Tom Thibodeau, who’s since become the coach and chief front office executive for the Timberwolves. Jackson was nonetheless disinterested in Thibodeau, and the Knicks didn’t contact him, Begley reported.

Offseason Salary Cap Digest: New York Knicks

The Knicks will once more go big-game hunting in free agency this summer, though whether they’ll have the cap flexibility necessary to sign maximum-salary free agents, most of whom will cost upward of $25MM for next season, depends in large measure on what Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams decide to do with their player options. New York could alternatively create room by offloading Jose Calderon, as we note below. As Hoops Rumors continues its look at each’s team salary cap situation for the season ahead, here are the numbers in the books that team president Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills will tend to:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents (Qualifying Offers/Cap Holds)

Unrestricted Free Agents (Cap Holds)

Projected Salary Cap: $92,000,000

Footnotes: 

  • Waiving Calderon via the stretch provision, a maneuver that’s been the subject of much speculation, would reduce his salary for next season to $2,569,475.

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

James Dolan Found Tom Thibodeau Intriguing

  • New Timberwolves coach/executive Tom Thibodeau would have accepted a coaching job without player personnel control on the Knicks, as Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com hears. However, the Knicks got the impression the opposite was true, and team president Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills didn’t feel they’d get along with Thibs, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post. Owner James Dolan was nonetheless intrigued with the former Coach of the Year, league sources told Begley. Jackson is still leaning toward removing the interim tag from the head coaching title of Kurt Rambis, Berman writes in the same piece.

Knicks Interest In Mike Conley On The Wane

  • The Knicks aren’t as high on soon-to-be free agent Mike Conley as they were during the season, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, citing team president Phil Jackson‘s lack of emphasis on point guards, his faith in Tony Wroten, and the Achilles injury that has plagued the Grizzlies star as potential reasons why.

Latest On The Knicks’ Coaching Search

David Blatt was never a serious candidate to become the next coach of the Knicks, tweets veteran NBA reporter Peter Vecsey. Blatt’s name was floated as a smokescreen, Vecsey reports, and interim coach Kurt Rambis remains the only candidate for the position. According to Vecsey, the agent for new Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau contacted the Knicks to express his client’s interest, but team president Phil Jackson had no desire to talk to Thibodeau.

Blatt was reported as a candidate earlier this month, and Jackson was believed to have a positive image of the former Cavaliers coach who was a teammate of Knicks GM Steve Mills at Princeton. Blatt, who guided Cleveland to the NBA finals last season, has been mentioned for several open coaching jobs since he was fired in January.

There’s more this morning out of New York:

  • Hiring the right coach is Jackson’s most important job this offseason, and he should consider someone other than the expected candidates, writes Bobby Marks of The Vertical. He lists Jim Cleamons, Bill Cartwright, Brian Shaw, Frank Hamblen, Derek Fisher and Rambis as failed coaches with a past connection to Jackson. Marks also writes that the Knicks need to fix their thin bench, and notes that more cap space will be available for that task if Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams opt out. But he adds that the coaching job must be filled first, and that will determine the type of players the Knicks should pursue.
  • Jackson is blaming former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy for the negative publicity surrounding the Knicks and his performance as president, according to Bob Raissman of The New York Daily News. Longtime Jackson friend Charley Rosen wrote recently that Jackson has been “unfairly denigrated as being misguided and incompetent” by the media and he believes “power-playing” Van Gundy is behind the effort. Van Gundy coached the Knicks from 1995 to 2002, compiling a 248-172 record. He is rumored to be the favorite to become the next coach of the Rockets.

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