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Knicks Agree on Terms to Hire David Fizdale as Head Coach

Photo: Bailey Carlin/TKW Illustration
Former Memphis coach and long-time Miami assistant will man the sidelines for New York after an exhaustive search on the part of the Knicks.

The New York Knicks will hire David Fizdale as their next head coach of the franchise, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

New York had fired two-year head coach Jeff Hornacek and associate head coach Kurt Rambis on Thursday, April 12—the day after the team’s final regular season game in Cleveland. Hornacek had accrued a 60–104 record in New York.

David Fizdale, the head assistant under Erik Spoelstra during LeBron James’ run as a member of the Miami Heat, was fired earlier this season by the Memphis Grizzlies after issues sprouted up between Marc Gasol and him. Fizdale spent 13 seasons as an assistant coach in Golden State, Atlanta, and Miami prior to his brief stint in Memphis. With the Grizzlies, he led the team to the playoffs in 2016–17, succumbing to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Memphis dismissed Fiz 19 games into the 2017–18 season.

Fizdale had interviewed with three other teams in the aftermath of the regular season: the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, and Charlotte Hornets. On Wednesday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Phoenix had agreed to terms with Igor Kokoskov, the league’s first European-born head coach; thus, one franchise was crossed out in the Fizdale sweepstakes.

From the Knicks’ end, the franchise’s head coach search had been publicized as an extensive and wide exploration. New York, under the leadership of team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry, interviewed roughly a dozen candidates including, but not limited to: Mark Jackson, David Blatt, Mike Budenholzer, Mike Woodson, James Borrego, and Jerry Stackhouse. Many around the league believed the Knicks would hire former Cleveland head coach David Blatt, who has a prior relationship to Perry.

Nonetheless, the hire of Fizdale is one grounded in the reality of the current state of the team. With Kristaps Porzingis sidelined until further notice, the team must deal with developing the roster from the bottom up. Fiz, a respected coach around the league, is known to forge strong relationships with players—something necessary if the Knicks intend to go the slow and steady rebuild route.

UPDATE: 7:06 p.m. EST.

Wojnarowski reports Fizdale will visit Kristaps Porzingis in Latvia in the coming weeks (via ESPN).

This article is updating.

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