The Knicks are ostensibly near the end of their head coach expedition—narrowing in on former Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer and Cavs coach David Blatt—while a late name in Juwan Howard throws his hat into the ring.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe reports the New York Knicks, casting a wide net for their next head coach, interviewed longtime Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard on Saturday, April 28.
Reports also indicate the Knicks’ front office—led by team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry—have been most impressed by former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt and recent head-coach free agent Mike Budenholzer, who mutually agreed with the Atlanta Hawks to vacate the head coach position.
Juwan Howard has been with the Miami Heat since 2010; in 2013 he retired after playing in the NBA for 19 seasons and picked up a clipboard for the Heat, where he played a bench role for the repeat champs in 2012–13. Before his NBA career, Howard was known as a member of the Michigan Fab Five—the all-freshman starting lineup that lost to Duke in 1992. Howard would play two more seasons with the Wolverines before entering the NBA where he was an All-Star in 1995–96 and played for eight different franchises. New York’s Scott Perry was an assistant coach himself at the University of Michigan during an overlapping time on campus with Juwan.
Meanwhile, after interviewing David Blatt in Europe, the Knicks have seemingly narrowed down their top contenders to Blatt and Mike Budenholzer. Budenholzer has left the Hawks organization, wherein joining a new team would not require compensation to Atlanta anymore. Among reports, Mark Jackson, Kenny Smith, and Mike Woodson do not seem to be in the same stratosphere as top candidates for the job Budenholzer, Blatt, David Fizdale, and Jerry Stackhouse. The Knicks also interviewed Boston Celtics assistant Jay Larranga and San Antonio Spurs assistant James Borrego—both considered hot commodities and rising stars in the NBA coaching world.
With May approaching, the Knicks are ostensibly close to finding their next head coach in a long line of failed game managers. The choice for coach might come down to a battle of who the front offices “knows” versus who impressed in the interview process.