Even before a startling news conference in the wake of a blowout loss to Cleveland, New York Knicks president Steve Mills had started to lay the internal groundwork for the eventual dismissal of coach David Fizdale, league sources told ESPN. Mills is selling owner James Dolan on a roster constructed to be highly competitive in the Eastern Conference, leaving Fizdale vulnerable to an ouster only weeks into the second season of a four-year contract that league sources say is worth $22 million.
Rival coaches and executives see a mismatched Knicks roster slow of foot, without legitimate NBA guard play but Mills is selling Dolan on a poorly coached team that is underachieving at 2-8 to start the season, league sources said. Around Madison Square Garden and the league, the timing and tone of the news conference was met with considerable surprise and dismay -- and considered completely undermining of Fizdale. "Everyone is moving to their positions now," a league source close to management and the coaching staff told ESPN. "This is how they'll make (Fizdale) the fall guy."
Sources told SNY that high-ranking MSG officials weren't thrilled after last Sunday's 113-92 home loss to the Sacramento Kings -- which is understandable, given the result.
Multiple SNY sources familiar with the matter said as recently as Thursday that there was no indication that any major coaching or management change was imminent. But those sources stated that nothing had been ruled out with regard an in-season front office or coaching change.
"Given that this is our 10th game, we felt like we had an obligation to come and speak to you guys," Mills said. "Obviously, Scott and I are not happy with where we are right now. We think the team's not performing to the level that we anticipated or we expected to perform at and that's something that we think we have to collectively do a better job of delivering the product on the floor that we said we would do at the start of this season.
David Fizdale, of course, was resilient and unflinching in his ownership of the mess to date. “I take the brunt of this responsibility because I’m the head coach,” he said. “I make these decisions of what’s going on on the court, what players play, who plays together, what plays we call, the defense system — that’s on me. As much as I appreciate them, I own it. That’s just who I am.”
Knicks fans may want to blame David Fizdale for the team’s awful start, but the coach appears to have the backing of the two people who matter most — general manager Scott Perry and president Steve Mills. “They have been incredibly supportive. We talk every day,” Fizdale said Wednesday before the Knicks played the Pistons. “The beauty of what’s happening inside our building is everyone is connected. They all see the work we are putting in."
Fan frustration boiled over in the second half of the 113-92 loss as the crowd booed and some chanted: “Fire Fizdale.” “I don’t think about that,” Fizdale said when he was asked about the crowd behavior. “I was more concerned about our performance from my seat. I can’t get caught up with how everybody else is feeling.”
If Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry are antsy over the team’s 1-6 start, they have not conveyed that to coach David Fizdale. The common refrain is this newly constructed roster with 10 new faces is going to take some time to mesh. The Knicks are tied with New Orleans for the NBA’s worst start.
“They’ve been incredibly supportive,” Fizdale said after Wednesday’s morning shootaround at Detroit Country Day before the Knicks faced the Pistons. “We talk every day. The beauty of what’s happening inside our building is everyone is connected. They all see the work that we’re putting in.”
Sources have indicated it’s way too early to start any Fizdale Watch — not with this new roster that needs tender loving care because of its complexities. How bad would it look for Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry to fire Fizdale on Dec. 1 after one season and one month after they passed on Mike Budenholzer, Mark Jackson and David Blatt and didn’t interview Steve Clifford?
Fizdale was a good soldier during last season’s 17-win tank-a-thon, but how hard this team plays in the next few weeks is worth watching. One name to consider if the season really starts to careen: Mark Jackson. The ex-Warriors coach (and ex-Knick) was a favorite of GM Scott Perry during the interview process in 2018, and Jackson has made no secret about his desire to coach again. Fizdale won’t be expected to perform miracles with this group but New York can’t let the season slip away quickly.
August 8, 2022 | 3:18 am EDT Update
Hoop Central: Paolo’s IG story. ‘Lol unfollowed me on the gram n everything it must be personal huh? That’s fine jus make sure y guard up next time n stop sending doubles family.
“You Tried To Flex That #1 Pick Shit On Me When I Been Rooting For You When You Was A Kid Asking To Rebound For Me @paolo5 Don’t Get On This Internet Saying Nothing… You Changed From The Humble Kid You Always Was And I Stand On Real Shit Boy And YOU KNOW!!!!!!!! You Made It And Changed And I Lost All Respect!!” “ Stay Humble. This Life You In Now Is REAL And Ain’t No Joke!!! I STILL WANNA SEE YOU WIN Cause That’s WHO I AM!!!”
ClutchPoints: “It’s a man’s league. He a little boy, he’s too soft.” Dejounte Murray calls Paolo a “little boy” and “soft” ￼ (via @HomeTeamHoops )
Playmaker: This year’s #1 pick, Paolo Banchero, got schooled by Dejounte Murray at #ZekeEnd @RockyPadila
Harrison Wind: Former Nugget Brandon Goodwin threw a punch at Bones Hyland at a Pro-Am today in Atlanta.
To recall back in 2019, Holmgren became the talk of social media after he crossed Curry and dunked the ball on him. The then-high school big man basically used Steph’s own move on him. Now, he just made it to the NBA, with the Oklahoma City Thunder using their second overall pick on him. Curry couldn’t be any prouder of what several of his camp’s alumni have accomplished, including Holmgren. While he will never forget how Chet embarrassed him, he said it’s “dope” that they are now going to face each other in the big boys’ league. “Chet hit me with my own move, little double behind the back … he finished it differently than I would though, I would have just pulled up from 3, he went to the basket and dunked on another dude. It’s pretty dope that he’s now in the league as the No. 2 pick,” Curry explained, per Bleacher Report.
Maxey thrived in the new role. He averaged 18.7 points and shot 48% from deep playing next to Harden. Now that the two have been able to work out in the summer, the young guard out of Kentucky is ready to build more with The Beard. “It’s gonna be great,” said Maxey at his 1% skills camp on Saturday. “Chemistry is everything. We only played like 20-something games together so for us to be able to have a whole training camp and an entire season together, it’s gonna be nothing but good things for us and a positive outcome.”