2:10pm: A source tells Dana O’Neil of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Wright isn’t going anywhere. That doesn’t mean the Knicks won’t take a shot this spring, but it sounds like their potential pursuit might play out the same way it did in 2018.
9:35am: The Knicks, who figure to be in the market for a new head coach this spring, have strong interest in Villanova coach Jay Wright, sources tell Adam Zagoria of Forbes.
“There is a strong possibility that Jay Wright in New York could happen,” one league source told Zagoria.
Wright, who has been Villanova’s head coach since 2001 and is an assistant on Gregg Popovich‘s Team USA staff, has been linked to the Knicks in the past. The team reportedly reached out to Wright before hiring David Fizdale in 2018. At the time, the Wildcats were coming off a national title, their second in three years. Wright said that spring that the NBA piqued his interest, but he had no desire to leave Villanova.
“It’s not that you’re not interested, I just don’t want to leave,” Wright told The New York Post in 2018. “It’s the Knicks. You love the Garden, you love New York City, you love the Knicks. I just know I don’t want to leave Villanova.”
If the Knicks pursue Wright again, it’s possible the veteran college coach will repeat that line from two years ago. However, it’s worth noting that Wright has ties with Leon Rose and William Wesley, as Zagoria details in his story. Rose is on track to become the Knicks’ new president of basketball operations. “World Wide Wes” reportedly won’t join the franchise in a formal capacity, but may be an unofficial advisor.
The Knicks have also been linked to some other big-name head coaching candidates, including Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau. Although interim head coach Mike Miller seems unlikely to remain in his current role, there’s support within the organization to keep him around in some capacity, according to one report.