Amidst the wreckage of their disastrous start to the season, Knicks president Steve Mills is setting up head coach David Fizdale to be the "fall guy," a league source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews.
According to Wojnarowski and Andrews, Mills has started to lay the "internal groundwork" for the potential firing of Fizdale.
Questions about Fizdale's job status grew louder after Mills and GM Scott Perry held a postgame press conference at Madison Square Garden following the Knicks' blowout loss to the Cavaliers on Sunday -- an occurrence SNY's Ian Begley noted was extremely rare.
If any coaching/executive changes are made, it will be Mills' call, sources told SNY's Ian Begley. As is the case with any major decisions in pro sports, owner James Dolan would sign off on any firings. But Mills will make decisions here without significant interference from Dolan. The only caveat is if Mills himself is fired. That would be Dolan's decision.
Multiple SNY sources familiar with the matter told Begley as recently as Thursday that there was no indication that any major coaching or management change was imminent. But those sources stated that nothing had been ruled out with regard to an in-season front office or coaching change.
Sources also told SNY that high-ranking MSG officials -- those that would be part of the decision-making process to make changes to management or the coaching staff -- weren't thrilled after last Sunday's 113-92 home loss to the Kings.
While Fizdale took full responsibility on Sunday night for the poor play and both Mills and Perry showed support for Fizdale and held themselves accountable for what has gone wrong so far this season, whispers about the second-year coach's job status have only grown louder.
The 45-year-old Fizdale was hired in May of 2018 when he was given a three-year contract. He oversaw a Knicks team that was in tank mode in 2018-19 and seems to have an ill-fitting collection of players in 2019-20.
After clearing a ton of salary cap space with the trade of Kristaps Porzingis last season, the Knicks missed out on signing top free agents Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard. They then signed a bunch of lower-tier free agents to shorter deals -- including Julius Randle and Marcus Morris -- with an eye on putting a competitive team on the floor this season.
Randle, Morris, the Knicks' other lower-tier free agent signings, RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and others were supposed to help New York take a step in the right direction this season. Instead, they have been non-competitive in a handful of their losses, while scratching out just two wins so far.
With the Knicks at 2-8, they are on pace to win roughly 16 games this season, which would be one fewer than they won last season when they went 17-65 and wound up with the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft.