Knicks Notes: Fizdale, Knox, O’Quinn, Durant

David Fizdale enjoyed working as a television commentator and might have stayed in that role longer if not for the opportunity with the Knicks, writes Ian Begley of ESPN. Fizdale called TV work a  “comfortable” job without “the stress of coaching,” but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try to build a winner in New York. He had interviews with several teams and turned down a four-year offer from the Suns to take the Knicks’ job.

Fizdale led the Grizzlies to the playoffs in his first year as a head coach, but injuries slowed the team last season and he was fired after 17 games in the midst of a well-publicized clash with Marc Gasol. That led to his job as an ESPN analyst.

“I went in there just force-feeding culture down everyone’s throat,” Fizdale said of his time in Memphis. “I had a small window, I felt, with those guys. So I really tried to fast-track everything. And there’s just some things you can’t rush. You can’t rush relationships, you can’t rush trust, you can’t rush the culture.”

There’s more out of New York:

  • The Knicks are hoping to get injured rookie Kevin Knox back in the lineup soon, possibly by Friday, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Knox suffered a sprained ankle in the third game of the season, and his father says he could be ready to return sometime between Friday and November 10. A tweet from the Knicks yesterday relays that Knox is making “good progress” and has “advanced to participating in shooting drills and non-contact court activity.”
  • Former Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn tells Berman it wasn’t an easy decision to leave New York and sign with the Pacers over the summer (Twitter link). “It’s the biggest decision I’ve ever made as far as making a choice in my career,” O’Quinn said. “I slept on it, prayed on it. I made the decision and I’m sticking with it. It’s no secret I would’ve loved to play for Fizdale or be here. It’s tougher than telling a girl you’re moving on.’’
  • The close relationship between Knicks assistant coach Royal Ivey and Warriors star Kevin Durant may give New York an edge in free agency next summer, Berman suggests in another story. They both went to college at Texas and Durant is the godfather of Ivey’s daughter.
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12 thoughts on “Knicks Notes: Fizdale, Knox, O’Quinn, Durant

  1. Z-A

    Knicks are too far away from contending to lure any of the near-30 All-Star/Superstar players. Why waste the prime/end-prime of your career?

    I could see them taking on some players that teams are looking to get rid of though. Hassan Whiteside? KP does not want to play the 5, he’d rather be a 4 ala-Dirk.

    Kanter is really their only trade asset for salary matching. Mudiay & Baker = 9M in expiring contracts. Maybe Courtney Lee b/c of the 3-Pt shot, but he’s owed 25M over 2 years. Lance Thomas is a non-player.

    Another idea would be later in the season looking at landing a T.J. Warren and taking on Ryan Anderson for Kanter and Lee, or Baker & Mudiay.

  2. His agent didn’t convince Durant to go from OKC to the Knicks, did he? Just like Kyrie it’s all coming from New York.

  3. Eric Lord

    If the Knicks aren’t close to contending, Royal Ivey being in the organization isn’t going to matter. Durant isn’t going to leave the Warriors for a team that isn’t going to contend.

  4. azcrook

    Durant is not going to leave the Warriors…his potential contract is almost $100 million more than any other team can offer him

  5. x%sure

    “”I went in there just force-feeding culture down everyone’s throat,” Fizdale said of his time in Memphis.”

    I can’t tell what Fizdale’s opinion of that is, good or bad. There is a lot of self-questioning in the linked article, but it seems he is still pushing culture. It might work a lot better with the Knicks than the Grizzlies.

    Possibly like Gasol, I would have a problem with that if I were a Grizzly in 2016. They already had a hard-working over-achieving culture there. I would feel big-timed… he was an assistant for Miami’s title runs, but not boss… and was Miami’s “culture” so notable, or transferrable to Memphis? It was more like, Lebron & celebrity stuff, the opposite of what Memphis was succeeding with.

  6. I think Fiz is suggesting that trying to force the culture he learned from Miami on to the Grit and Grind Grizzlies was a mistake. I don’t think he feels that the Miami culture isn’t good, and that he would want to bring to a team that needs a culture like the Knicks, but that he won’t force feed as hard as he did the first time.

    Fiz won’t be going anywhere for a while. Players both within and outside the organization talk highly of him, and I like what I have seen so far.

    Knicks are not one player today from being a serious contender, but next year’s NBA could look much different than today’s. If Durant were to land in NY, that’s a huge loss for the Warriors. Houston doesn’t look very good, and while they will rebound some, without a big move, they’re probably not a serious contender any longer. If Kawhi were to leave the Raptors, and/or Kyrie leave the C’s, that considerably weakens both squads. AD could be dealt, and the FA’s (Butler, Durant, Kyrie, Kawhi, CT) signing for the right team (ie. Kawhi and Butler with the Clips) could form another super team. Adding KD, pairing him with a healthy KP, a top 5 pick this year, and Knox/Robinson/Frank/Trier would make the Knicks a top 6 EC playoff team, and possibly a top 4 depending on where a couple of the top FA come/go. Another year later, and Hardaway becomes an expiring deal, and could open up space to line up another max spot going into year three of KD’s deal.

    Not saying this happens, but for all the Knicks haters that have responded above, there are a lot of teams, including the Knicks, that can with just a couple of moves and enough young assets can build a real contender in today’s NBA. LBJ going to LA would be no different than KD going to NY last year. Young team with some potential, but not a serious contender. Sign a bunch of vets to one year contracts and then use your space again the following season.

  7. dust44

    I know I’m in the minority. But I feel like Fiz is going to do a really good job in NY. They have a decent young future core. Knox and Zing plus Frank looks like he is progressing. I like Trier and Robinson as well. THJ is actually buying into team ball (atleast during the couple games I watched). Hezonja is a capable wing off the bench. And Dotson can guard. So really they just need to get healthy (KP and Knox) and actually have a plan moving forward and they could b relevant in the East in a couple years

    • marlins17

      I completely agree. Really liking what im seeing so far. From the 2nd youngest team in the NBA. Vonleh has looked promising too. Lots of potential, maybe late bloomers plus we will have another high pick this coming draft so couple that with a big signing and i think the Knicks make some noise. Not championship caliber but playoffs. And grow from there.

  8. Despite the noise every year, true max players rarely move teams in FA. Maybe 1-2 per year, and there’s usually a story beyond just basketball. The reups are at least 5 x that. Yes, there will quite a few this year, but each is a long shot for any outside team.

    Within that context, if the Knicks can get KP back playing well, clean up the rest of their roster (which is basically Fiz’s job this year, more than winning) and establish some stability in the basketball operation, then I think they would be at the top of the list of outside teams for a number of FAs, including Durant. 80% he goes back to the Warriors, but if he’s looking for a new challenge (particularly after, in the eyes of a lot of people, taking the easy road the last time) the Knicks are worth a long look.

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