Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Knicks owner James Dolan spoke with team president Steve Mills and others in management on Monday, the day after Mills and GM Scott Perry held an impromptu press conference to express their frustration with the Knicks.
Dolan speaks with Mills and other top decision-makers regularly, just as most NBA owners do, but this conversation seemed to carry a little more weight. Sources familiar with the conversation told SNY that management came away with the impression that their jobs would be secure as long as the Knicks 'showed progress' this season.
How Dolan and other organizational decision-makers define 'progress' is unclear. This conversation took place before the Knicks' 18-point loss in Chicago on Tuesday. That game certainly wouldn't fit the loosest definition of progress.
The Knicks fell to 2-9 after the defeat and have dropped five games by at least 18 points. It's clear that the club needs to be more competitive, consistently, for head coach David Fizdale to keep his job.
ESPN reported that Mills had been laying the groundwork internally to fire Fizdale prior to Sunday. It's logical to think that games like Tuesday's would speed up the timetable on Fizdale's dismissal.
Sources told SNY that, in addition to Fizdale, Mills and Perry are also 'on notice' in the wake of the Knicks' slow start. Regardless of what happens with Fizdale, opposing executives expect Mills and Perry to be given the remainder of the season to show Dolan that the team they put together can be competitive.
But, as we noted on Tuesday, the notion that Perry or Mills, who has served as either president or GM of the Knicks (under Phil Jackson) since 2013-14, would be immune to the consequences that would come of New York continues to under-perform is inaccurate.
If the Knicks continue to struggle, agents and executives keeping an eye on the Knicks believe that the most likely scenario has Fizdale being fired during the season and Mills and Perry being replaced after the year.
New York hosts Dallas and former franchise cornerstone Kristaps Porzingis on Thursday in what figures to be a charged atmosphere at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks' last home game was eventful. At some point during the second half of New York's 21-point loss to Cleveland, Dolan spoke to Mills and Perry about the state of the club. It's fair to assume he wasn't happy.
Afterward, Mills and Perry addressed the media -- which is extremely rare. Usually, the head coach talks to the media after games. The executives talked about a lack of consistency and a sense of urgency to get things turned around. They also expressed support for Fizdale.
But it's clear that Fizdale is on shaky ground at the moment - and Tuesday's loss certainly didn't stabilize anything for the head coach.