Knicks Rumors: Fizdale, Durant, Porzingis, Griffin

Before being hired by the Knicks in the spring of 2018, David Fizdale was a highly sought-after head coaching candidate, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski, who suggest that Fizdale had offers from the Hawks and Suns and was the leading candidate for the Hornets‘ opening as well. However, Fizdale was focused on New York and turned down other offers even before he received any assurances from the Knicks.

A year and a half later, Fizdale is back on the market after a miserable start to the 2019/20 season. Leading up to his ouster, Fizdale knew that team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry were meeting with players to get their input on why the Knicks weren’t showing progress, sources tell Shelburne and Wojnarowski. Eventually, Fizdale told Mills and Perry that he understood if they felt he’d become part of the problem.

Mike Miller has taken over as the Knicks’ interim head coach and should keep the job at least through the end of the season, assuming players respond to him, per the ESPN duo. But there have already been talks at the ownership level about potentially hiring a new coach during the season if the club’s struggles continue. That would present a new series of complications, since Mills and Perry are now on the hot seat themselves, and it’s not clear whether they’d get the go-ahead to pick a new coach.

Shelburne and Wojnarowski touch on many more topics in their latest article, exploring many other factors that have contributed to the Knicks’ ongoing struggles in recent years. The piece is absolutely worth checking out in full, but here are a few highlights:

  • Kevin Durant did “strongly” consider the Knicks as a free agent destination earlier this year, but when he and Kyrie Irving talked about teaming up, Durant never pushed the Knicks the way Irving pushed the Nets, sources tell ESPN. Shelburne and Wojnarowski also suggest that team owner James Dolan was wary about bringing aboard Durant and his torn Achilles after the Knicks’ experience with Amar’e Stoudemire.
  • The Knicks began gauging Kristaps Porzingis‘ trade value early in 2019, offering him to the Pelicans in an Anthony Davis package, per ESPN. When New Orleans showed little interest in that proposal, the Knicks began to wonder if league-wide interest in Porzingis may not be as high as they believed.
  • When Porzingis and his brother (and agent) Janis found out the Knicks were discussing a possible trade with the Mavericks, they hurried a meeting with the team, providing a wish list of four destinations (Nets, Clippers, Raptors, and Heat), according to Shelburne and Wojnarowski. The Knicks turned around and quickly finalized a deal with Dallas, perhaps not wanting to lose leverage when Porzingis’ request leaked. The series of events left more than a dozen teams around the NBA wondering why they didn’t have a chance to bid on Porzingis, and suggested one of two things to rivals, per Shelburne and Woj: Either the Knicks knew Durant and Irving were coming, or they didn’t know how to properly execute a franchise-altering trade.
  • After parting ways with Phil Jackson in 2017, the Knicks initially zeroed in on David Griffin, who told the organization he was interested only if he could become president of basketball operations and report directly to ownership. Dolan suggested he was “excited” about that idea, sources tell Shelburne and Woj. However, Griffin soon realized – particularly when word broke that the Knicks had signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year, $71MM deal – that he likely wouldn’t have full autonomy and would have to report to Mills. He met with the club but withdrew his name from consideration shortly after that meeting.
  • The Knicks subsequently pivoted to Perry, a candidate “without the gravitas or leverage to demand a direct line to ownership.” Perry’s contract includes fourth- and fifth-year options that must be exercised this season, according to ESPN. It seems unlikely at this point that New York will pick up those options for 2020/21 and ’21/22.
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10 thoughts on “Knicks Rumors: Fizdale, Durant, Porzingis, Griffin

  1. justinkm19

    Mavericks appreciate their ignorance. KP and THJ have been awesome this year, and KP is only going to get better.

  2. The Mills/Perry narratives on the KP trade never made any sense; this one (it was amateur hour) is so believable. They’re both dumb guys and at least Mills is quite sleazy. It’s really no more complicated than that.

    Forget the HC. Just focus on a Team President. Secondarily, someone to act as such on an interim basis so these two clowns can be removed as soon as possible. I wouldn’t let them hire a new secretary, let alone a new HC.

  3. Skip, Tampa

    What a mind numbing road map to try and follow. Guess “it’s off to find the Wizard”. Now that the wicked Warlock Fitz is buried under the house.

  4. x%sure

    Well rumors get some confirmation. The Hardaway contract from Mills was always an unseen disaster but the possobility of Griffin taking Mills’ job was the motivator. Hardaway the poison pill!

    Another Easter-egg for a new Prez: Perry does not have to fired, just not picked up.

    By wavering on Durant, they lost getting him and possibly Irving both, since Durant then declined to advocate to Irving.

    Mills & Perry being loosened, will be more willing to say they had a promise from Irving! If so.

    • dynasty in boston

      Irving did the Knicks a solid when he went to the Nets.

      When a team lacks another superstar, Irving tries to become Harden 2.0. Problem is, he’s not nearly as talented. The team starts to lose and Kaylee becomes moody and starts to lash out and alienate. As bad as he’s been with Brooklyn, it would be 3x worse in NYC

      • IslandFlava

        Kyrie has actually played the best ball of his life in Brooklyn so far… I mean 28.5PPG & 7.2APG! That alone nullifies your point!

  5. LordBanana

    Are these guys really on the hot seat? It’s not like they were successful before this season

  6. Natergater77

    So all the Knick fan hate on KP is unjust. This shows they made plans to trade him, then surprised that he and Lee and Hardaway couldn’t net AD. So the panicked sent him to Dallas and narrated that it was him not them.

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