Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
As Knicks president Leon Rose continues to build his team off the court, one of the things Tom Thibodeau recently talked about was the size of team staffs in the modern NBA.
"Your assistant coaches, your player development guys, your interns, your video guys, your analytics people, your sports scientists, your strength and conditioning people. It's a very large amount of people," Thibodeau, a potential Knicks coaching candidate, said on The Woj Pod with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. "So everyone has to be communicating and working together to make the best possible decision."
Rose and the Knicks have received praise from opposing execs and scouts for adding Brock Aller, Walt Perrin and Frank Zanin to their front office thus far. The way rivals have talked about all three men leads you to believe the Knicks can work together to, as Thibodeau says, make the best decision possible -- and avoid the factions that plagued previous Knicks administrations.
Of course, Rose has more decisions to make on the scouting and front-office front. The new team president has been doing his due diligence on all facets of the organization -- including scouts/execs -- while the season is on pause. Opposing teams monitoring the Knicks' situation from afar expect Rose to make more changes to the scouting and front office departments (current exec Allan Houston remains a strong candidate to remain with the club under Rose).
Rose's next moves may not make major headlines but they will be critical.
Every position in a successful organization has an impact on winning. Scouts, execs, training staff and sports scientists can all contribute to wins and losses. So NBA teams should strive to have the best of the best at each position, everyone working with a bottom-line focus on building a sustained winner.
That's why it's wise to play close attention to Rose's decisions with the rest of the front office/scouting/training staff. But the most important decision to come for Rose, obviously, is the head coach.
If Rose doesn't decide to retain interim head coach Mike Miller, he should have plenty of qualified candidates interested in the job.
Thibodeau is obviously on the list. As noted last month, agents and other coaches with a vested interest in the Knicks' coaching search said they believed Thibodeau is the most likely hire if Rose decides not to retain Miller. Rose and Thibodeau have a close relationship.
Rose, of course, developed relationships with many coaches during his time as a top player agent at CAA. To name a few: Jeff Van Gundy, John Calipari and Mike Woodson.
My guess is that the Knicks will interview several candidates and those interviews will factor in to Rose's final decision.
No matter how things unfold during the search, it's imperative that the Knicks hire the right coach for the young roster, and one that can help build stability for the organization.
New York's next coach will be the franchise's 10th full-time head coach since Van Gundy left the club in 2001.
It's no surprise that the Knicks have won just one playoff series during that time span. New York has hired some decorated coaches since Van Gundy's departure (Larry Brown, Lenny Wilkens, Mike D'Antoni). None of them panned out.
They were close to hiring Steve Kerr before he decided to take a job with Golden State. The Knicks also reached an advanced state of negotiations with Milwaukee's Mike Budenholzer before hiring David Fizdale.
Discussions between the Knicks and Budenholzer in the 2018 offseason advanced to a point where some people who would have come with Budenholzer to New York were talking about places to live in the city because they felt Budenholzer was close to taking the job, per SNY sources.
Prior to Budenholzer's interview with the Knicks, the New York Post reported that New York was Budenholzer's top choice entering the offseason.
One official from an opposing team involved in searches at the time confirmed that coaching the Knicks intrigued Budenholzer. "Bud was definitely interested," the team official said recently.
Then-president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry, obviously, decided to hire Fizdale. This isn't to suggest that the Knicks would have been more successful with either Kerr or Budenholzer on the sideline than they were with Fisher and Fizdale. Outsiders can make that assumption, but it's impossible to know.
I only bring that up to say that the decision-making process during the coaching search is imperative. Hiring the right coach will go a long way toward helping Rose build a sustained winner in New York. As Knicks fans know too well, making the wrong hire will set Rose's efforts back significantly.
Also on the coaching search: To date, the Knicks have held off on interviewing candidates until the NBA decides on if/when it will resume the season.
There is growing momentum to resume the season with a few regular season games as a ramp-up to the playoffs. Brooklyn's Spencer Dinwiddie shared one potential timeline via his Twitter account on Thursday.
Nothing has been decided yet. As Mark Cuban noted in an interview with WFAN, some owners' biggest concern is that the people involved in a resumed season would take coronavirus tests away from those who need them. So there are several significant issues that need to be worked out before the NBA decides to resume the season.
But one team briefed on a few potential timelines said that one schedule would have the regular-season games start in mid-July with the playoffs/NBA Finals concluding in mid-to-late September. The NBA Draft and free agency would take place shortly after the conclusion of the Finals.
In this scenario, the Knicks wouldn't start interviewing head-coaching candidates until late July.