The New York Knicks are almost ready to pick a head coach after a lengthy interview process. The organization has reportedly spoken with 11 candidates over the last couple of weeks, searching for Jeff Hornacek’s replacement.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks are hoping to make a decision this week. Team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry have met with candidates that were head coaches during the 2017-2018 season, assistants that are still coaching in the playoffs, as well as others that have no NBA head coaching experience.
The man that gets hired will be looking to turn around what’s been one of the sport’s least successful franchises over the last two decades. Since Jeff Van Gundy retired during the 2001-2002 season, New York has had 10 different head coaches while winning just one playoff series.
Here’s a closer look at all of the candidates:
Mike Budenholzer: The 48-year-old spent five years as the Atlanta Hawks’ head coach before parting ways with the team this summer. Before the organization committed to tanking this past season, Atlanta reached the playoffs in four straight years. Budenholzer led the Hawks to the East’s best record in 2015 with 60 wins when the team’s best player was either Al Horford or Paul Millsap.
Budenholzer is an elite defensive coach that gets the most out of his players. There’s a chance he wouldn’t even take the job offer, now that he might be considered for the Milwaukee Bucks’ head coaching position.
Former head coach Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks during their game at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 29, 2015 in New York City. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images
David Fizdale: A 7-12 record to start the year and a poor relationship with Marc Gasol resulted in Fizdale getting fired by the Memphis Grizzlies during the regular season. That came after a successful first year with the Grizzlies in which the team went 43-39 and took the San Antonio Spurs to six games in the first round. Fizdale was a Miami Heat assistant during all four of the their trips to the NBA Finals with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. James and Wade both publicly defended their former coach when he was let go.
Fizdale has reportedly interviewed with the Hawks and spoken with the Phoenix Suns about their respective head coaching positions. He’s just 43 years old and among the youngest candidates for the Knicks’ job.
David Blatt: Blatt’s had the most success of any candidate, taking the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2015 NBA Finals in his first season as an NBA coach. Of course, he was fired 41 games into the next year before LeBron James led the Cavs to their first title. Blatt's since returned to coach in Europe, where he thrived before coming to the United States in 2014, having led Maccabi Tel Aviv to the 2013-2014 EuroLeague Championship.
Mills and Perry recently flew to Europe to give Blatt a second interview, according to the New York Daily News.
Second-Tier Head Coaches
Mike Woodson: Woodson is the most experienced head coach of the bunch, and that includes a brief stint with the Knicks from 2012-2014. He was at the helm of the Knicks’ best season since the end of the Patrick Ewing era when the team went 54-28 in 2013 and reached the second round of the playoffs. He was gone after the next season when Phil Jackson arrived, totaling a 315-365 record in nine seasons between New York and Atlanta.
Mark Jackson: Jackson might be the most polarizing candidate. There are those that say he’s perfect for the job because he’s a New Yorker and a proven head coach. Others believe he shouldn’t be a consideration and his departure from the Golden State Warriors helped the defending champions get to the next level. The Warriors improved in all three seasons under Jackson, winning 51 games in 2014 before he was let go. The former Knicks’ player clashed with Golden State management and hasn’t come close to getting a head coaching job since.
Mike Brown: The Knicks concluded their interviews by speaking with Brown, who currently serves as Golden State’s top assistant. He was the Warriors’ head coach during last year’s playoffs when a medical issue forced Steve Kerr to miss some time on the bench, and he previously reached the NBA Finals as a head coach in 2007 with Cleveland. Brown experienced success with the Cavs from 2005-2010 (272-318 record), though he couldn’t complete more than a full season with the Los Angeles Lakers and during his second stint with Cleveland in the 2013-2014 season.
Assistant coach Mike Brown of the Golden State Warriors gestures during the first half against the Utah Jazz in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 6, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo: Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
Jerry Stackhouse: Stackhouse has probably gotten the most buzz of any Knicks’ candidate that’s never been an NBA head coach. He received an interview shortly after Jeff Hornacek was let go, following two successful campaigns as the head coach of the G-League’s Raptors 905. Stackhouse led the team to a championship in the 2016-2017 season and was named the Coach of the Year.
Jay Larranaga: The son of University of Miami head basketball coach Jim Larranaga is looking for his first NBA head coaching gig. Larranaga was the head coach of the G-League’s Erie BayHawks from 2010-2012 where he went 60-40. He’s been with the Boston Celtics as an assistant since 2012, learning from Brad Stevens, who is widely regarded as one of the NBA’s elite coaches.
James Borrego: Borrego is the youngest candidate at just 41 years old. He’s spent much of his career as an assistant learning from the best, coaching under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs from 2003-2010 and then again rejoining the team in 2015. Borrego was the Orlando Magic interim head coach in 2015, going 10-20 after the organization fired head coach Jacque Vaughn.
Juwan Howard: Howard has been an assistant with the Miami Heat since he retired as a player in 2013. He became the 10th candidate to get an interview Sunday.
Kenny Smith: There’s no bigger long shot for the Knicks’ job than Smith. He doesn’t even have experience as an assistant coach, having worked as an analyst on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” for the majority of his post-playing career.
Source : http://www.ibtimes.com/knicks-head-coaching-search-11-candidates-play-new-york-2676964