Storyline: David Fizdale Hot Seat?

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“I don’t think about that stuff,” Fizdale said after practice. “I don’t think about it at all. I go into – every day is I come in here, I see 17 guys that I’ve got to make better and I see a team in Indiana that we’ve got to try to go out and beat. I take it day-by-day that way. Even if we were on a 16-game winning streak, I would be going about it the same damn way. Just focused on that. I think it keeps my mind clear and it allows me to keep them in a good space where they’re connected and that they’re fighting for each other.”

Fizdale has mentioned wanting to run a faster-paced offense, though that could be challenging with the forward-heavy roster constructed for him, “I’ve had to adjust and it makes it difficult, but it’s also a different way that we have to do it,” Fizdale said. “We have to be willing to advance the ball with the pass and it’s not always a guy pushing the ball up the court and really getting guys to commit to running the floor hard regardless of if you’re faster than somebody or not. But just making those commitments to getting your bodies up the floor and the guy with the ball willing to advance the ball with the pass and then we get into actions quicker and hopefully give ourselves more opportunities and possessions.”

But when you lose by 44 and chalk it up as something that happens and you follow it by trailing by 43 points in an eventual 37-point defeat, then change is usually in the air. And with a 21-83 record since taking over it’s hard for anyone to argue he shouldn’t go. “I don’t care about all that,” Fizdale said. “I don’t even think about that, really. I think about the next team we’re playing, I think about the guys in the locker room and how I can help them. At the end of the day, that’s all I care about.”

Asked if he believed he was still, as has often been stated, on the same page with the front office, he said, “Yeah. Absolutely. I’m still coaching this team. I’m still pushing them. I’m still preparing them. We had a hell of a practice before this game, it was just a disappointing output.” “You can’t let the rope go,” Taj Gibson said. “You’ve got to continue to keep fighting, continue to keep pushing, because nobody in this league is going to feel sorry for you. Fiz is doing a good job preaching and keeping guys in tune, but at the same time we have to do a better job, including myself. He can’t keep taking the bullets for us. We have to step up. We have to grow. We have to mature and mature quickly.”

David Fizdale's firing expected soon?

The lingering question after the Knicks’ 44-point loss in Milwaukee is this: how much longer will David Fizdale be on the sidelines? We don’t have a definitive answer, but one member of the organization said late last month that he expected management to fire Fizdale soon, per SNY sources. The person who expressed the thought isn’t someone who would make the decision to fire Fizdale. But the idea that a member of the Knicks believes a coaching change is coming says a lot about the level of uncertainty in New York right now.

If Mills fires Fizdale, the next question is if he and Perry will keep their jobs beyond this season. In a conversation with Mills and other front office members after the Mills/Perry press conference, Dolan gave off the impression that Mills and Perry would be safe if the team showed progress, as SNY reported. Just how Dolan defines progress is unclear. But if Fizdale is fired, it seems as if the Knicks would have to play much better under the interim coach for Mills and Perry to keep their jobs and have a chance to hire another coach in the offseason.

The Knicks had to really sink south for a coaching change to be made by Game 20. Indications are it was far-fetched for a change to be made this early anyway. Was owner James Dolan, who has given Fizdale private reassurances, really going to let president Mills hire a new coach from the outside on a long-term deal with Fizdale still having at least one season fully guaranteed on his pact for 2020-21? Sources indicated the major deterrent to making a change at Thanksgiving was the sketchy alternative of promoting one of the assistants – Jud Buechler, Keith Smart or Kaleb Canales.

How does David Fizdale tune out the speculation about his job status? The Knicks coach revealed Tuesday that he has the backing of the one fan who matters most: Knicks owner James Dolan. “Every game, every game. Jim Dolan comes in and gives me a vote of confidence, a pat on my back and really has just been incredibly encouraging over the last year and a half or whatever it’s been,” Fizdale said. “All we talk about is just sticking to the process of making these guys better and building for a future of sustainable winning.”

David Fizdale done in New York?

One step: Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressing the media after Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers while Fizdale was still in the locker room. Mills and Perry stressed that the team wasn’t meeting expectations, seemingly a veiled shot at the coach. Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN: The dismissal of David Fizdale is inevitable, and there was, I think, a bond broken between management and their head coach with how they handled things after that loss Sunday night.
9 months ago via ESPN

Knicks players back David Fizdale

Despite their frustrations following the loss at Chicago — one in which they turned the ball over 18 times and were outscored 52-46 in the paint — Knicks players were still adamant in their support of the second-year coach. “We’ve got 9-10 new guys? We’ve got 10 guys that have not played together at all and me who hasn’t even been in the league yet,” said rookie RJ Barrett. “You’re gonna have some challenges, but you’ve got to keep pushing, keep pushing through everything. That’s all I can really say. You’ve just got to stay together. “He’s up to the challenge. We believe in him,” he continued. “We’re staying together, and like we said, we’re all-in with him and are just gonna keep fighting together.”

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.”

David Fizdale's job not in danger?

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.
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