NBA Rumor: David Blatt to Knicks?

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Blatt is definitely in the running because of his relationship with Mills, his former teammate at Princeton. “Steve has tried to hire Blatt twice,” says one Knicks source. “He really likes him as a coach. The question is will Steve hire him now? If it’s Blatt, that’s Steve’s choice. I don’t know if he’d want to put himself out there.”

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The veteran forward didn’t address the coaching search on Wednesday, but league sources with knowledge of Anthony’s thinking said a report that stated he “likes” the idea of the Knicks hiring David Blatt is a gross exaggeration. This isn’t to say that Anthony wouldn’t support a Blatt hire if the Knicks choose to go that route. But the league sources say Anthony hadn’t expressed his opinion on Blatt to anyone. Blatt, of course, remains a candidate for the Knicks’ opening. Team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills met with Blatt late last month.

Not surprisingly, Blatt’s former players from Maccabi Tel Aviv said it was a mistake by the Cavaliers to undermine the team structure and not buy into the coach’s teachings. Of course it’s a different dynamic in the NBA, where the players have the money and the power. Rarely will a coach hold more sway than the star. “I can’t imagine that (Blatt) would go in and rub people the wrong way. And if he did, it’s unfortunate because players need to be more responsible for themselves and be grown-ups,” said Blumenthal. “They need to understand there’s a hierarchy with a basketball team. And the coach is pretty high up there. If you want to be a championship team, you have to buy into what the coach is doing.”

He pitched himself to Jackson as a defensive-minded coach who, while playing collegiately at Princeton, was reared on the joy of a deliberate, five-man offense and therefore amenable to embracing Jackson’s beloved triangle. He reminded Jackson that he initially went to Cleveland in 2014 to coach a young, undisciplined Cavaliers team, a work in progress. That was before James suddenly returned as the homecoming King, when the Cavs were essentially the Knicks, minus the veteran shotmaking of Carmelo Anthony.

Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt met with New York Knicks president Phil Jackson on Monday to discuss the franchise’s coaching job, league sources told The Vertical. Interim coach Kurt Rambis has remained a strong frontrunner to become the full-time coach, and it is unclear if the Blatt meeting was more than a token appearance in a coaching search. Jackson has been determined to continue to run his triangle offense, and Rambis has been a loyal disciple of the system.
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