Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
A few notes on the Knicks' coaching situation: before Steve Mills was removed as team president, there was support within the organization to keep Mike Miller in the fold -- even if New York hired a new head coach for next season.
In the wake of Mills' reassignment, some prominent people at Madison Square Garden remain in support of giving Miller a role within the organization regardless of what happens with the coaching search this offseason, per SNY sources.
Entering Friday's game against Washington, the Knicks are 13-19 under Miller. The interim head coach has also been forced into the role of team spokesman under some difficult circumstances, including the firing of David Fizdale and Mills. (No members of the Knicks front office have been made available to answer questions about either situation).
The way Miller has handled things on and off the court has impressed many in the organization.
Presumably, that's part of the reason Steve Stoute's comments on First Take on the Knicks' coaching situation rubbed the organization the wrong way. Of course, everyone assumes that when a new team president is hired, that person will want to hire their own head coach. And that's probably how things will play out under new Knicks team president Leon Rose.
But when Stoute -- a branding consultant for the Knicks -- confirmed that the Knicks will be looking for a new head coach on national television, it was unfair to Miller.
The Knicks and Stoute confirmed as much when they released a joint statement on Tuesday explaining that Stoute does not speak for the organization when it comes to personnel matters.
Miller, who probably couldn't care less about all of this, will be asked about it before the Wizards game on Wednesday. If I had to guess, he'll downplay its significance and say that he's focused on getting his players ready to play Washington.
Still, missteps like Tuesday's are avoidable. They're the kind of unforced errors that the Knicks have made repeatedly over the past two decades.
If Stoute wanted to go on First Take and talk about his role with the Knicks and how he feels about the future of the organization, that's fine. Reasonable people, of course, can disagree on whether that's helpful to the organization.
But Stoute overstepped his bounds when he talked about the coaching situation, as both he and the Knicks acknowledged.
Will Stoute's comment about the coaching situation ultimately impact what happens on the court for the Knicks? Of course not. It just contributes to the perception that the club doesn't function well, which is a perception the Knicks have been trying to distances themselves from for the past few years.
Regarding the idea that Miller could stay with the organization next season even if he isn't the head coach, that's obviously something that Rose, who hasn't taken over in an official capacity yet, would have to be on board with. It's also something that Miller would have to be open to.
Even with all of those unknowns, it's worth noting that Miller has a relationship with former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy. Miller was an assistant under Van Gundy with the Team USA World Cup qualifying team in 2018.
Van Gundy has spoken glowingly of Miller. So it's fair to presume that if Van Gundy were hired as the Knicks next head coach, Miller would be considered as an assistant on Van Gundy's staff.
In general, it's also fair to assume that Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau -- another coach with a strong connection to Rose -- will get consideration for the Knicks' head coaching job.
On Van Gundy, it's worth noting that, as we reported at the time, he was open to discussing the opening with the Knicks during their last coaching search. But the organization, under Mills and GM Scott Perry, never gave Van Gundy strong consideration before hiring David Fizdale.
On Thibodeau, Carmelo Anthony said publicly that the Knicks should have considered hiring Tom Thibodeau in the 2016 offseason. Anthony's agent at the time was Rose. For those into connecting the dots, it would stand to reason that Anthony and Rose were on the same page regarding Thibodeau's candidacy for the Knicks job.
Given that, it would be surprising if the Knicks, under Rose, didn't give Van Gundy and Thibodeau consideration for the head-coaching job time around.