Monday’s embarrassment in Milwaukee didn’t push Knicks head coach David Fizdale any closer to losing his job, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.
A league source tells Berman that management understands the conditions surrounding the 44-point defeat. The Knicks faced one of the league’s best teams and were on the second night of a back-to-back without two of their best defenders in Frank Ntilikina and Marcus Morris. Still, Fizdale will need to show some progress to keep his job through the end of the season.
Fizdale has been on alert since team president Steve Mills conducted a rare post-game press conference following a 2-8 start. New York is 2-9 since then and is off to the franchise’s worst start ever through 21 games. This comes after management hinted that a playoff spot was possible after adding a crop of veteran free agents.
Berman notes that the front office is reluctant to make a move with Fizdale because he has two guaranteed years left on his $22MM contract and because they don’t have an attractive alternative. Berman believes top assistant Keith Smart would depart along with Fizdale if there is a coaching change, leaving Jud Buechler, Caleb Kanales or former G League coach Mike Miller as the remaining choices to take over the team on an interim basis.
Firing Fizdale so soon would leave management with a lot to explain, Berman adds. He was hired last year ahead of 10 other candidates, including reigning Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer. The Knicks failed to interview Steve Clifford and Frank Vogel, who are both having success with their new teams.