Perry and Steve Mills orchestrated the previous Knicks coaching search in 2018, which also featured an 11-man field. They picked David Fizdale, fired early in his second season last December. Sources have told The Post owner James Dolan was heavily behind the decision and is now on the hook for all of Fizdale’s four-year, $22 million contract amid a COVID-19 economic crunch. Sources also contend the Zoom interviews extended the search longer than if the interviews were conducted in person and included the wining and dining.
Knicks president Leon Rose and senior vice president William Wesley were hired primarily as a conduit to luring stars, but Stoute believes he can form a Big 3. “With having Leon in, World Wide Wes and myself, the three of us, we’re the best sort of team as it relates to being able to speak with free agents,’’ Stoute said over the weekend on the “Breakfast Club” podcast. “Our relationship with talent to bring them to New York. They haven’t had this level of talent in the last 10 years that can go out and pitch free agents and convince them why New York is great.’’
Storyline: Knicks Front Office
While the league’s Disney World venture has gone smoothly thus far, with the league having twice reported that all of the players present have tested negative for COVID-19 while the games go on, sources say the National Basketball Players Association remains concerned about the safety concerns that would come with creating another location for the other eight teams to compete (Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Detroit, Atlanta, Minnesota, Cleveland, Golden State). The NBPA, sources say, has been open to the idea of having in-market bubbles for individual team minicamps. So far, those eight teams have only been able to do 1-on-0 workouts in the facility with up to two coaches at a time.
Au contraire. Wiggins already told Kerr he loved playing for Thibodeau, disrupting a narrative that has partly smeared his otherwise sterling reputation. “We had just traded for Andrew Wiggins and he was really helpful,’’ Kerr told The Post in a phone interview Saturday from his home in San Diego. “I had a long conversation with [Thibodeau] about Andrew. He gave me some good advice on ways to connect with Andrew, how much he enjoyed coaching him and why. We’ve gotten to know each other over the years. [Thibodeau has] been very helpful to us.”
“He showed some X’s and O’s and went over some actions they ran for [Wiggins],” Kerr recalled. “Some of the things they were trying to do. The thing with Tom is he’s a workaholic, loves the X’s and O’s, loves breaking down film and takes great joy in it. Our staff values his opinion.’’ “What is apparent is he and Andrew had a great relationship and Andrew said that as well. I know Andrew told me he really enjoyed playing for him and appreciated his commitment. When a coach knows his stuff and gets along with his players, he’s got a great chance to succeed. I think Tom’s got a great shot.’
“No doubt Tom knows his stuff. He works his ass off. He’s had success in this league and a lot of respect from his peers. And he knows what he’s doing. He could be a great hire. But there’s always a lot of things that go into it. They got to put those pieces together. It’s never easy. You got to build the roster and continuity.” Kerr said he does not look forward to facing a Thibodeau-coached Knicks team in 2020-21. “You know he’s done all the homework and will know all your plays,’’ Kerr said. “Every coach has an assistant in charge of the main scouting report for different teams. A lot of times you call a play and the head coach asks the assistant what’s coming and the assistant will yell it out. Tom yells it out himself. He does everything. He doesn’t leave any stone unturned.”
Q: You’ll probably laugh at this: How do you feel about the fact that Knicks fans are viewing you as the savior? Tom Thibodeau: (Laugh) It’s an honor and a privilege to be able there. … I don’t fool myself into not thinking that it’s gonna require a lot of work … just come in and give everything we have every day. Do it for each other, do it for the city, do it for the team, put the team first. … And if we keep doing the right things, the results will take care of themselves. But I think we all know what it will take to get this done, and we believe that we can make this right.
Q: What criticism has either bothered you the most or you thought was the most unfair? Tom Thibodeau: That’s a good question (smile). I’ve had a number of great mentors, and having worked with Jeff [Van Gundy] in New York, and watching all the things that he went through and the way he handled all that stuff was really good for me. I think it helped prepare me for ultimately when I became a head coach. He always used to say this: “Whether it be praise or criticism, treat it the same. It really doesn’t matter.” The only thing that matters is what I think. Only I know whether I put everything I had into something. We all really only answer to ourselves.
Q: Doc Rivers. Tom Thibodeau: A great leader, the ability to think on his feet, communicate, connect. He doesn’t want you to think how basketball-driven he is, but he is (laugh). Q: Gregg Popovich. Tom Thibodeau: He’s been great to me throughout my career. He’s allowed me to come down and visit for practice. The leadership ability, his communication skills, his sarcasm, he knows how to use that in a very effective way (smile) … probably similar to Coach Parcells. Most people would be smelling the roses, he’s not doing that.
During his Zoom introductory call, Thibodeau said if a young prospect isn’t getting sufficient playing time, there may be reason to explore sending him to the G-League. “I think game-time is important,’’ Thibodeau said. “So if a young player is not getting the appropriate amount of time to develop, we’ll utilize the G-League. That’s become an important part of our league. We’ll certainly take advantage of that.’’
According to an NBA source familiar with the situation, Robinson lobbied to have the Knicks’ top prospects who weren’t getting enough NBA time to spend a few games — or weeks — in the G-League to gain rhythm and grow confidence. Perry rejected the notion, feeling it would be perceived as too big a demotion and felt practice time as well as being around NBA coaches was more vital, according to a source. Robinson’s counter was that during the NBA season, practice time and scrimmages are limited.
Storyline: Knicks Front Office
Mark Jackson — a native of the Big Apple — was drafted by the New York Knicks with the No. 18 overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. The former Warriors coach played six full seasons (plus part of the 2000-01 campaign) with the organization, and represented the Knicks in the 1989 NBA All-Star Game. Although he was rumored to be a candidate to become the franchise’s next coach, Tom Thibodeau got the job. “He will establish a culture of hard work (and) discipline. Great hire for the Knicks,” Jackson said on ESPN’s show “First Take” Thursday morning. “I wish them nothing but the very best.”

Knicks adding Ed Pinckney to coaching staff?

As Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks front office go over names for the new coaching staff in the coming days, one blast from Thibodeau’s past – and New York’s past – will come up. According to an NBA source, Ed Pinckney, the former Villanova star who won an NCAA title and is a product of the South Bronx projects, is expected to be strongly considered.
Meanwhile, there have been internal talks about Pat Zipfel joining as either an advance scout or bench coach. Zipfel, who worked under Daryl Morey in Houston, is considered one of the NBA’s top advance scouts. Zipfel was Thibodeau’s advance man for part of his Bulls and Minnesota stints. The advance scout is considered part of the coaching staff. While Mike Woodson and Mike Miller are considered near locks to join the staff at the front office’s recommendation, Thibodeau, as already reported here, would push most for Andy Greer.
On a Zoom call, Rose faced questions for the first time from the media as he introduced Thibodeau as their head coach. “We have not set a timeline. We are taking it one day at a time. We felt Tom was that coach who can take us with development to becoming a perennial winner. That happens one step at a time,” Rose said. “At the moment we don’t know what the roster will be moving forward. We have decisions we have to make. The important thing is to instill the culture, focus on the development and take it from there.”
Storyline: Knicks Front Office
It was not déjà vu. It was yet another introduction of a new Knicks coach, this time Tom Thibodeau, a former Coach of the Year Award winner, whose hiring was announced at a Zoom news conference on Thursday. “This is a dream come true for me,” Thibodeau, 62, said in prepared remarks. “This is my dream job. I’ve been there before. I have a great understanding of New York. We have the best city in the world. We have the best arena in the world. We have the best fans in the world.”

He tried to piece together how he had contracted the virus, concluding that it probably happened on the road trip in New York, Boston or Detroit. He wondered how it was possible that other members of the Jazz didn’t test positive given that he shared locker rooms with his teammates and received massages from team staffers. As he recovered, he concluded that he probably wasn’t the first NBA player to contract the virus — just the first to return a positive test. He might have been careless with the microphones, but Mitchell or Wood easily could have exposed him to the virus rather than the other way around.
Storyline: Coronavirus Infections
Some NBA players don’t care for playing in New York. Not Harkless of South Ozone Park. “Playing for the Knicks was always something I wanted to do,’’ Harkless said. “It was definitely a dream come true being at the Garden wearing the jersey. That was kind of crazy actually — being a kid from New York dreaming to play for the Knicks and doing it.’’
Storyline: Moe Harkless Free Agency
Harkless, the former St. John’s star, is a defender and Thibodeau is a defensive coach. “It was good conversations about different things,’’ Harkless told The Post about his exit interview with new team president Leon Rose. “I don’t know what free agency will bring yet until October. They got a good coach,” Harkless told The Post. “Thibs is a great coach and I have a lot of respect for him. But I don’t know what’s going to happen.’’
Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne is being considered by the New York Knicks for one of its assistant coach openings under new head coach Tom Thibodeau. Sources tell KSR that while the Knicks have not yet officially contacted Payne, the franchise is considering the longtime Kentucky assistant as an option to join Thibodeau’s staff.
On his view that the NBA still lacks diversity in front offices and coaching staffs, and why he was so critical of the Knicks’ expected hiring of coach Tom Thibodeau on Twitter… David West: “The most diverse part about the league is the locker room. And then beyond there…there are ebbs and flows in coaching, there are ebbs and flows in the other roles around the organization, like the trainers and the medical staff. And then we don’t see much movement in terms of the executive level and the ownership level, so there’s a lot of room to go. And then even inside the inner workings of the league itself, right? So there’s a lot of work to be done.
Jay Scrubb, the No. 1 rated junior college recruit in the nation, has had Zoom interviews with 22 NBA teams, including the Knicks and Nets, his agent Corey Marcum of EZ Sports Group said. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard from John Logan College (KY) announced in March he planned to sign with an agent and enter the NBA Draft instead of playing at Louisville. Scrubb, who is currently training in San Antonio, is attempting to become the first junior college player drafted since Donta Smith (Southeastern Illinois) was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second-round pick in 2004. The NBA Draft is now slated for Oct. 16.
Asked if an NBA coach can still be a taskmaster such as Thibodeau, Van Gundy went on a rant, saying it’s “slander’’ to criticize the 62-year-old New Britain, Conn., product on that front. “I don’t think players have changed nearly as much as organizations and coaches have changed,’’ Van Gundy said. “You can’t demand less of players and then complain that they’re willing to do less at times. I find it does a disservice to players. I think good players in any era want to be challenged and pushed to be their best and they want to play on teams of significance. This idea that Tom doesn’t know how to pace his team is one of the great slanders that has been perpetuated by the media on a coach.”