So much intrigue is happening now that the Knicks have hung them up for the season. This weekly series is here to help you keep track of it all.
The leading role has become an ensemble. Before Steve Kerr accepted the Warriors’ head coaching job, the noise was many stories surrounding one coaching candidate. Now it has shifted to getting one story each about many coaching candidates, as Phil’s list of targets grows seemingly by the day. All the while, Carmelo’s July 1st free agency looms large. Who knows what will happen with the team.
1. Phil tells Felton He’s Out
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) May 16, 2014
Phil Jackson told Raymon Felton that he will explore trading him this offseason, though as ESPN’s Ian Begley points out, he won’t be an easy sell. Steve Blake was named as one point guard Jackson might pursue to replace Felton.
This will probably come as a relief for many a Knicks fan, as Felton was a glaring weak spot on the floor all season, and an inordinately high number of opposing point guards had career-highs in points against the Knicks this season.
The question will then become: who is a.) available b.) affordable and c.) a marked improvement on Felton. Does that player exist?
2. All of Phil’s Men
Once the Steve Kerr deal fell through, the rumor mill began churning out plenty of candidates that Phil was apparently “considering”. The list includes, but is not limited to: Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, Luke Walton, Tyronn Lue, Brian Shaw.
Fisher, for one, has dismissed talk of the Knicks job, but that’s really all he can do as the Thunder continue in the Western Conference Finals. That didn’t stop Kevin Durant from giving Fisher a glowing endorsement. Fisher is presumably a valued member of Durant’s framily.
3. The Outsiders
The “potential candidates” are not entirely limited to Phil’s immediate network, however. The names Mike Dunleavy, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson are all being tossed around, if for no other reason than people need names to toss around at this point in the process.
Dunleavy is not a Jackson acolyte, but is his friend. The two apparently met last week and discussed the Knicks coaching vacancy.
Van Gundy, who always takes the “never say never” approach when discussing re-entering the coaching world, said he would listen if Phil Jackson called him
4. Woodson Takes High Road
Mike Woodson was on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on ESPN radio, and was given the opportunity to talk about the Knicks ownership, but did not take the bait, opting to leave the past in the past.
5. Close But No Steve Kerr
Steve Kerr said in his press conference that he was close to taking the Knicks coaching job and that it was difficult to turn down his mentor Phil Jackson.
Marv Albert told Kerr, among other things, that “it never ends well” in New York. Despite that, Albert maintains that he did not dissuade Kerr from taking the job.
-This had everyone freaking out last week.
(via Melo’s Instagram)
-Carmelo is nominated for BET’s Sportsman of the Year award
-Basketball isn’t entirely absent from the Garden: J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Tim Hardaway Jr attended a New York Liberty game Saturday night. J.R. Smith can put one WNBA game under his belt, but one wonders if he has watched his first 2014 playoff game yet.
(via the Knicks Instagram)