The Knicks have hired former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Woj also reports that the contract is four years.
Fizdale turned down a four-year contract offer to become the Suns' next head coach before accepting the Knicks job, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
Fizdale was one of the top candidates to win the race to become the Knicks' next head coach. Though he only coached the Grizzlies for a year-and-a-half, Fizdale is one of the bright, young minds in the league. He was fired by Memphis this past season after just 19 games, as there were rumors that he and star C Marc Gasol did not get along.
"That's the league. The best player and the coach aren't always going to get along and that's just how it goes sometimes," Fizdale said about the disagreement with Gasol on ESPN. "He was the best player on teams and I'm sure he didn't always love his coach. It's just unfortunate circumstances how it all played out on the stage. But that's just normal stuff. Whether we like each or not it's not about that, it's about winning games."
The Knicks will hope that the same issues won't arise with star Kristaps Porzingis, who is recovering from ACL surgery.
Along with Fizdale, the Knicks interviewed Mark Jackson, Mike Budenholzer, David Blatt, Mike Brown, Jerry Stackhouse, Mike Woodson, Kenny Smith, and James Borrego for their vacant head coaching position.
Jake Brown | Twitter |
The search is finally over. David Fizdale is the newest New York Knicks head coach.
This is as good of a hire as the Knicks could have made, which is not usually the case when the Knicks come to a decision on a new coach. The general consensus amongst the fan base is that the Knicks got this one right going with Fizdale. Also, the Knicks were lucky enough that Fizdale chose this job after declining the Suns job. It makes sense for him coaching in New York versus coaching in Phoenix for a team that is further from winning than the Knicks are.
In his only full season as head coach, he took the Grizzlies to the playoffs, where they lost a hard-fought series to the Spurs in six games. He only lasted 19 games in his second year this season, going 7-12 before getting fired because of a poor relationship with Marc Gasol, which was more of Gasol's doing. Fizdale likely would have led the team to a better season than they ended up having. They also had an atrocious roster and no chance of being any good coming into the season.
Fizdale is exactly what the Knicks need. He's a strong communicator, well-respected, and he understands today's player. Standing up for his Grizzlies team the way he did in the playoffs was a true testament to how good he is as a coach on and off the court. He's 43 and already has 20 years of coaching in basketball under his belt, which is pretty remarkable. He helped the Heat win two NBA titles as an assistant coach in 2012 and 2013. Fizdale certainly has the resume to lead this Knicks team right now.
Fizdale is the right hire, and he really needs to be. Since Jeff Van Gundy left in 2001, the Knicks have gone through 11 coaches, which is more than anyone in the NBA. It has continued to be a revolving door, and the hope is that Fizdale can last this entire four-year contract, instead of coaching for two, and then getting fired, and getting paid to do nothing. Fizdale should give Knicks fans some hope for the future here. Now it's up to him, Scott Perry, and Steve Mills to put a roster around Kristaps Porzingis that can take this team back to the playoffs, where they haven't been in five years.