After Steve Kerr chose to take the Golden State Warriors coaching vacancy, Phil Jackson is headed back to the drawing board to figure out a backup plan for the Knicks. The reported candidates are intriguing, and demonstrate James Dolan may indeed be granting Jackson the autonomy he promised. While that is an encouraging sign, the Knicks have way more problems than just finding a new coach.
According to Pro Basketball Talk’s Kurt Helin, the Knicks are looking at several options at the moment:
Report: Phil Jackson focused on young coaches — Tyronn Lue, Luke Walton, Derek Fisher http://t.co/FMcKojh6lz
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) May 15, 2014
All the candidates are familiar with the triangle offense, which Jackson seems insistent on implementing in New York. Another common thread among these candidates is they all possess limited-to-no coaching experience, and would be groomed by Jackson. They’re not names who inspire confidence in Knicks fans, but if Jackson is simply putting together a list of ex-players who have played for him, this is probably the best suggestion I’ve seen:
Jud Buechler: "Great to hear from you, Phil. The coach? You mean like head coach? Of the Knicks? I'll have sell the dealership, but sure."
— dbh (@lesterfreamon) May 15, 2014
These choices do prove one thing: this coaching hire is entirely Jackson’s decision, which is encouraging, especially for those who were skeptical of whether Dolan would indeed cede basketball decisions to Jackson. If there was interference from Dolan, he would likely suggest more high-profile names.
While that is a positive, the longer this search goes, the more it becomes clear the Knicks have many other questions that need answering, notably Carmelo Anthony‘s pending free agency and a flawed roster with limited financial flexibility moving forward. The hiring of a new head coach will be Jackson’s first move to really put a stamp on the team. But it will just be a first step. In fact, it might turn out to be the easiest decision he’ll make this off-season. It’s all the other decisions and questions about this team that will define his tenure in New York.
Who do you think the Knicks should hire?
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