Knicks Rumors

Latest On Knicks’ Head Coaching Search

9:00pm: The Knicks will meet with Mike Budenholzer on Sunday, Ian Begley of ESPN tweets.

7:48pm: Add James Borrego to the list of candidates scheduled to interview with the Knicks regarding their coaching vacancy. Ian Begley and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN report that the current Spurs assistant has been granted permission to interview for the position.

Borrego was previously linked as a potential Suns candidate although it wasn’t known at the time whether he had been granted permission to interview there.

Worth noting is that Borrego worked with Knicks general manager Scott Perry in Orlando between 2012 and 2015, serving as an assistant and eventually interim head coach prior to joining San Antonio.

Here’s more on the search for a new Knicks’ coach:

  • Representatives from the franchise will travel abroad to interview David Blatt this week. Wojnarowski and Begley write that Blatt has a strong relationship with Knicks president Steve Mills but doesn’t have a relationship with Perry.
  • For what it’s worth, the ESPN scribes say that Jerry Stackhouse and David Fizdlae both made strong cases for themselves in their previously conducted interviews.
  • And finally, Kenny Smith‘s interview with the franchise is now in the books, although the ESPN piece gives no indication of how it went. Smith is a native of New York but has no coaching experience.

David Lee Vouches For Mark Jackson As Knicks Candidate

  • Consider David Lee a supporter of the notion that the Knicks should hire Mark Jackson. Lee played in New York and later for Jackson in Golden State. “Mark understands the difference in New York basketball. He’s from there,” Lee told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “He understands the politics, the fans, things involved unique to the Knicks. That’s an advantage he has.

Knicks Plan To Talk To Mike Budenholzer

The Knicks continue to cast a wide net in their search for a new head coach, with Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporting (via Twitter) that the club intends to talk to current Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer.

Budenholzer, who has two years and more than $13MM remaining on his contract with the Hawks, has already met with the Suns about their head coaching vacancy. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday night that Budenholzer withdrew from consideration for that Phoenix job, but it appears he’s not yet a lock to return to the Hawks.

If the Knicks want to hire Budenholzer, they’d almost certainly have to send the Hawks some sort of compensation to let him out of his current deal. The most notable example in recent years was the Celtics acquiring a first-round pick from the Clippers when Boston let Doc Rivers out of a contract with three years left on it in 2013.

As our head coaching search tracker shows, the Knicks have put together an extensive list of potential candidates to become Jeff Hornacek‘s replacement. Jerry Stackhouse, Mark Jackson, and Mike Woodson have reportedly interviewed with the team, and Kenny Smith was set to do so today. New York is also expected to meet with David Fizdale and David Blatt.

Kenny Smith Confirms Friday Interview With Knicks

  • Kenny Smith confirmed on TNT on Thursday night that he will indeed be interviewing with the Knicks for their head coaching job on Friday. As Marc Berman of The New York Post relays, his fellow TNT broadcasters gave him a few friendly pieces of advice, including making sure that he knows how to pronounce “Kristaps Porzingis.”

Berman: Kenny Smith Meeting A 'Courtesy' Interview?

Following up on Wednesday’s report that the Knicks will interview Kenny Smith for their head coaching position, Marc Berman of The New York Post classifies the TNT analyst as a long shot, suggesting that it may simply be a “courtesy interview,” unless Smith has interest in joining the coaching staff as an assistant.

A job as an assistant is also a possibility for Mike Woodson, according to Berman, who writes that there has been speculation about a scenario in which the Knicks hire Mark Jackson as their new head coach and bring aboard Woodson as Jackson’s top assistant.

The Knicks continue to go through the interview process, so it’s probably too early to suggest that the team is leaning toward a single candidate, but it still seems as if Jackson, David Fizdale, and David Blatt represent the top options for the club. Jerry Stackhouse was reported to be a part of the Knicks’ “top tier” of candidates too, but Berman’s sources suggest Stackhouse may be the top choice for the Magic.

James Dolan Talks Porzingis, Jackson, Hornacek

Kristaps Porzingis‘ recovery timeline following his ACL surgery remains somewhat unclear, but he almost certainly won’t be ready to start the 2018/19 season, and his absence could extend far beyond opening night. Speaking to Larry Brooks of The New York Post, Knicks owner James Dolan admitted that he still doesn’t have a clear idea of when Porzingis might be ready to return.

“I’ve been told everything from December to him being out for the season, so I don’t know what to expect on that,” Dolan said. “But we can’t just sit on our ass while he’s away. We need to develop a team and then integrate him into it when he comes back.”

With the Knicks facing a big offseason that will see them name a new head coach and make the necessary roster moves to move forward in their rebuilding process, Dolan spoke to Brooks about a number of topics. While he touched on the team’s plan going forward, the Knicks owner also revisited the past, discussing a pair of former Knicks employees in Phil Jackson and Jeff Hornacek.

Here are a few of the most notable comments from Dolan:

On hiring – and eventually firing – Jackson as president of basketball operations:

“The entire market wanted to me to hire him and when I did, the entire market said it was a great move. The only thing was, everyone said that I shouldn’t interfere with him. Three years later, everyone wanted to know when I was going to do something about Phil. The same people who told me not to interfere wanted me to interfere. But that’s OK. I just think that Phil underestimated the job.”

On why Hornacek was fired:

“I think Hornacek had the same kind of issue that Phil did in that he didn’t grasp how different the players are now in the way they think and deal with management and the coaches. I think he was way behind on that. But I think Jeff is a good coach and he’ll do well when he’s hired by another team.”

On the Knicks’ current coaching search:

“The coaching search for the Knicks is similar in a lot of ways to the (NHL’s New York) Rangers. I think the teams are in similar spots. We’re looking for people to develop players and to create a winning team. We have our lists of candidates, but the lists are still open.”

Knicks Notes: Coaching Search, O’Quinn, Noah

The Knicks aren’t afraid to take their time as they look for their next coach, according to Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. Today was Mark Jackson‘s turn to interview with team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry in Los Angeles, one day after Jerry Stackhouse. News broke tonight that TNT analyst Kenny Smith will be interviewed Friday. Sessions are also scheduled for David Fizdale, Mike Woodson and David Blatt, and Isola states that more candidates could emerge.

Fizdale had an interview today with the Suns and seems to have emerged as the most popular coach on the market. He has a connection with James Jones, a former Heat player who now works in the Phoenix front office and is reportedly a strong advocate for Fizdale. The Knicks are attracted to Fizdale because he has experience with a winning organization in Miami and he has a strong connection to LeBron James, whom the Knicks haven’t given up hope of someday acquiring, Isola adds.

There’s more tonight from New York:

  • Jackson’s aversion to analytics may doom his chances with the Knicks, writes Gary Peterson of The San Jose Mercury News. Jackson had a reputation as an old-school coach with the Warriors and was often dismissive of modern techniques. “The [Golden State] analytics staff encountered more resistance than they anticipated,” said Erik Malinowski, author of a book on the building of the Warriors.
  • Backup center Kyle O’Quinn isn’t ready to make a decision on his player option, relays Jordan Lauterbach of Newsday. O’Quinn, who recently changed agents, will earn $4.26MM if he decides to opt in for next season. “I came into the season, I don’t want to say without a role, but knowing that anything can happen,” he said. “Whether it be trade talks or things like that, I think I handled it well by putting myself in a solid position where I could display what I could do.”
  • The Knicks should resist the temptation to stretch Joakim Noah‘s contract over the next five seasons, advises Bobby Marks of ESPN. Marks points to Deron Williams in Brooklyn and Josh Smith in Detroit as instances where teams have regretted compromising their long-term flexibility. Marks also recommends delaying an extension for Kristaps Porzingis to create more cap room for next summer.

Kenny Smith To Interview With Knicks

Kenny Smith is the latest addition to the Knicks’ coaching search, according to an ESPN report. The TNT analyst, who has no NBA coaching experience, will reportedly interview with the team Friday. Smith played in the league for 10 seasons and joined Turner Sports in 1998.

The Knicks have already held interviews with Mark Jackson and Jerry Stackhouse and plan to bring in David Fizdale later this week. That will be followed next week by a session with David Blatt.

They have also received permission from the Clippers to talk to assistant coach Mike Woodson, but he’s not in the top tier of candidates, according to ESPN.

David Fizdale Plans To Interview With Knicks, Suns

APRIL 17, 10:52pm: Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets that Fizdale will interview with the Suns tomorrow.

APRIL 14th, 1:00pm: Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic has confirmed that Phoenix plans to interview Fizdale sometime this week.

APRIL 14th, 10:14am: Former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale plans to interview with the Knicks and Suns next week, tweets Mark Medina of the Mercury News.

Fizdale coached the Grizzlies to a 43-39 record during the 2016/17 season but the team was eliminated in the first round of the postseason. He was relieved of his duties after just 19 games this season as Memphis struggled to win and Fizdale’s relationship with Marc Gasol reportedly deteriorated.

However, Fizdale has been a popular name for many teams with head coaching vacancies. As we relayed this week, Heat guard Dwyane Wade — who played in Miami when Fizdale was an assistant coach — advocated for him as a potential target for the Knicks.

The Suns were granted permission to interview Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, and are also set to meet with interim head coach Jay Triano and Fizdale.

Before his tenure with the Grizzlies, Fizdale served as an assistant coach with the Heat, winning two NBA championships in 2012 and 2013.

2018 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker

After a period of virtually unprecedented stability in the NBA’s head coaching ranks, the coaching carousel started spinning again during the 2017/18 league year. Three teams made in-season coaching changes, installing interim replacements, and three more clubs have dismissed their head coaches since the regular season ended.

In the space below, we’ll provide daily updates on the head coaching searches for each club that has yet to give anyone the permanent title. Some of these searches could extend well into the spring, so be sure to check back each day for the latest updates.

Updated 4-20-18 (3:22pm CT)

Charlotte Hornets

  • Out: Steve Clifford (story)
  • To interview: Jerry Stackhouse (story), Ettore Messina (story)
  • Other rumored candidates or targets: David Fizdale (story)
  • The Hornets also made a change in their front office, hiring Mitch Kupchak as their new president of basketball operations and general manager. Kupchak will lead the search for a new head coach, with fellow UNC alum Stackhouse among the first candidates who will interview for the job.

Memphis Grizzlies

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Out: Jason Kidd (in-season change)
  • Interim coach: Joe Prunty
  • As long as the Bucks remain alive in the playoffs, the team won’t actively move forward with its coaching search. If Prunty can get the club through the first round, he’d become a stronger candidate for the permanent job.

New York Knicks

  • Out: Jeff Hornacek (story)
  • Interviewed: Jerry Stackhouse (April 16), Mark Jackson (April 18), Mike Woodson (April 18)
  • To interview: Kenny Smith (April 20), David Fizdale (story), David Blatt (story), Mike Budenholzer (story)
  • Other rumored candidates or targets: Jay Wright (story), Doc Rivers (story), Craig Robinson (story)
  • Not in running: Jeff Van Gundy (story)
  • The Knicks’ search has focused primarily on former head coaches so far, including Jackson, Fizdale, and Blatt. Those three candidates are considered part of the team’s “top tier” along with Stackhouse. Wright and Rivers are probably long shots, given their current employment situations, while Robinson – a former college coach who is already part of the Knicks’ front office – is considered a “dark horse.”

Orlando Magic

  • Out: Frank Vogel (story)
  • To interview: Jerry Stackhouse (story)
  • Other rumored candidates or targets: Nick Nurse (story)
  • The Magic plan to take their time with their search, so there haven’t been a ton of rumors about their targets so far. They’ve been linked to a couple coaches in the Raptors organization, given president Jeff Weltman‘s connection to Toronto.

Phoenix Suns