Former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson and Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne are receiving strong consideration as Tom Thibodeau puts together his staff in New York, writes Adam Zagoria of Forbes.
The Woodson move appears to be “virtually done,” sources tell Zagoria, although nothing has been announced. Woodson has head coaching experience with both the Hawks and Knicks and led New York to its last postseason trip in 2013. He last coached as an assistant with the Clippers from 2014-18.
Woodson, 62, got an endorsement this week from former Knicks coach David Fizdale on Sirius XM NBA Radio.
“You know, it’s not an easy place to work, it’s not an easy place to coach,” Fizdale said. “There’s a lot of different things that swirl around the team and that’s just what comes with being the New York Knicks. And so because Woody successfully navigated that and really understands the dynamic of New York and New York City I think he’s really going to be of huge value to Thibs in that situation. And Woody can flat out coach and so that’s where he’s also going to help him is from that standpoint on his own accord.”
Payne is currently “weighing an offer” from the Knicks, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium. The 53-year-old has ties to both newly hired executive William “World Wide Wes” Wesley and team president Leon Rose. Payne is known for developing big men, including Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns. He also worked with Knicks forwards Julius Randle and Kevin Knox while they were with the Wildcats.
“KP is one of the best development coaches in the world,” Towns said last year. “KP is the horse beneath the jockey driving Kentucky basketball.”
Mike Miller, who served as the Knicks’ interim coach after Fizdale was fired, is also being considered for a spot on Thibodeau’s staff, according to Corey Hersch of SNY.tv.