The New York Knicks have parted ways with head coach David Fizdale, leaving an opportunity for someone else to try fixing the franchise.
You have probably heard the big-name candidates like Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Kenny Smith, especially since they all have big profiles now as regulars on television and have ties to either New York or the Knicks.
There are also the familiar faces who may get consideration and you’ve probably seen them other lists – coaches like Tom Thibodeau, Ty Lue, Jason Kidd, Mike Brown and Mark Woodson.
Other obvious names to consider are assistants Mike Miller (not the one who played in the NBA) and Pat Sullivan, both of whom are current assistants. Miller has been named the interim head coach, so it’s possible that he could take over permanently if he does a great job. New York also has two other assistants (Kaleb Canales and Jud Buechler) who will be asked to step up with Fizdale and former assistant coach Keith Smart gone.
Perhaps no one makes more sense than former NBA All-Star Chauncey Billups, who played for the Knicks in 2011 and has connections to the team’s front office (since he played under current GM Scott Perry in Detroit). However, he has maintained that he is more interested in becoming a front-office executive than coaching.
Regardless, this is a tough job and someone who has ties to their front office in some ways may have an advantage since this is such a crucial hire. Here are some under-the-radar candidates to keep an eye on as the Knicks conduct their coaching search.
Back in April 2018, Frank Isola actually mentioned Knicks executive Craig Robinson as a potential candidate for their head coaching vacancy before they eventually hired Fizdale (via New York Daily News):
“Robinson is another longshot Knicks candidate, according to a team source. The former Oregon State head coach — and brother of former First Lady Michelle Obama — currently serves as the Knicks’ VP of player and organization development.”
Robinson was the head coach at Oregon State from 2008 until 2014. During his playing days at Princeton, he was teammates with Steve Mills — the President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks. It is also worth mentioning that former NBA champion coach Dave Blatt was one of their teammates as well, though he is currently dealing with serious health issues.
Becky Hammon was once a fixture at Madison Square Garden, as she played for the New York Liberty from 1999 until 2006. The San Antonio Spurs assistant was once again promoted within the Spurs organization last year and has been a fixture on the sidelines during Summer League games for the team as well. She has received some consideration for other head coaching jobs recently, such as the Milwaukee Bucks’ and Detroit Pistons’ gigs. One of the looming questions for her is how long Gregg Popovich will remain head coach in San Antonio. If he decides to retire soon, she could be in line to take over as the next head coach of the Spurs.
While he is currently the lead assistant coach for the defending champion Toronto Raptors, Adrian Griffin could make some sense for the New York Knicks. He attended college in New Jersey at Seton Hall University, where he is in their athletics Hall of Fame. During his final NBA campaign in 2007-08, he played 13 games for the Seattle Supersonics. Scott Perry was the Assistant General Manager for Seattle that season. Then, when Perry was the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Orlando Magic in 2015-16, Griffin was one of the team’s assistant coaches.
Former NBA champion Darvin Ham played for the Detroit Pistons from 2003 through 2005. During that time, Perry served as the Director of Player Personnel for the organization, so he’s familiar with Ham. Ham has previously been in consideration for head coaching positions with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers. We also previously mentioned him as a potential candidate for the head coaching vacancy with the Atlanta Hawks in 2018 before the team went in a different direction.
Milwaukee Bucks assistant Chad Forcier was an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons (2001-03) when Perry was the team’s Director of Player Personnel. He later served as an assistant for the Orlando Magic, including the final year Perry was their assistant general manager (2016-17). He worked directly with Gregg Popovich when he was an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs and has served as a lead assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies. His ties to Perry and coaching experience could make him an interesting candidate to watch.
Basketball, DunkWire, NBA, Top, Adrian Griffin, Becky Hammon, Chad Forcier, Darvin Ham, David Fizdale, Jason Kidd, Jeff Van Gundy, Jud Buechler, Kaleb Canales, Kenny Smith, Mark Jackson, Mark Woodson, Mike Brown, Mike Miller, Pat Sullivan, Steve Mills, Tom Thibodeau, Ty Lue, New York Knicks