While the Knicks look for a new head coach after Dec. 6's firing of David Fizdale, interim head coach Mike Miller could be an option. And the way Jeff Van Gundy sees the situation, the Knicks should provide Miller with a fair shot to earn the permanent job.
Appearing on SiriusXM NBA Radio with Frank Isola and Mitch Lawrence, Van Gundy sounded off, endorsing Miller as a candidate for the gig -- one he might be in the mix for himself. Sources told SNY's Ian Begley that the way Miller has handled things on and off the court since taking over for Fizdale in the acting role has impressed people within the organization.
Although the Knicks could pursue Van Gundy, who Begley reported in April 2018 was open to discussing the job with New York before Fizdale ultimately landed the gig, he shared what was on his mind Wednesday by lobbying for Miller. Van Gundy's comments came after Knicks branding consultant Steve Stoute indicated on ESPN's First Take that the organization would "bring a new coach" in.
"Mike Miller, to me, deserves every opportunity to finish this season out and win the job and I think anybody plotting as a coach to try to undermine that opportunity is doing it wrong," Van Gundy said. "In a coaching situation, we should all root for each other to be successful because only the people that have manned the head coaching position understand how hard it is to win any single NBA game.
"And particularly, those teams that are stuck in the middle, it is brutal to win games. I find it unfortunate at times when people start circling, trying to get a job that isn't even open. Mike Miller deserves all of our support. He's done a fantastic job."
Van Gundy was the Knicks' head coach from 1996-01, going 430-318 and making the playoffs in all six seasons -- including the 1999 NBA Finals -- before resigning.
Since taking over a lifeless Knicks team that started out 4-18, Miller is 13-20, including Wednesday's 114-96 loss to the Washington Wizards (20-33) at Madison Square Garden.
Before the game, Miller was asked about Stoute's comments alluding to the potential coaching overhaul.
"I don't really have a reaction to it," Miller said. "I found out about it from someone else after the fact and didn't really have a reaction to it. I'm locked into doing what we do here. We're getting ready for Washington. My job right now is to get this team ready to play and my focus is on these players.
"I saw Steve at the charity event (Knicks Kicks and Cocktails) last night. We spoke over there and had a private conversation. There were a lot of people there. That was the first time that I met him."