2018-05-03 19:01:04
David Fizdale Said to Be Hired as Knicks Coach

19:01, May 03 107 0

David Fizdale will be the next head coach of the Knicks.

A person with knowledge of the agreement, who was not authorized to discuss the deal publicly, confirmed on Thursday that Fizdale and the Knicks had agreed in principle on a deal. The decision was first reported by ESPN.

Fizdale replaces Jeff Hornacek, who was fired last month after leading the team for two seasons, going 31-51 and 29-53 for a combined record of 60-104.

Fizdale, 43, was known for years as one of the league’s top assistants, including with the Miami Heat during the LeBron James years. He got his chance as a head coach with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2016-17, but after a first-round playoff loss followed by a slow start to this season, he was dismissed in November amid reports of conflicts with the team’s star, Marc Gasol.

The sudden firing was a surprise, and drew criticism from around the league, including from James.

Fizdale’s time in Memphis may be best remembered for a rant after a playoff game in which he blasted the game’s foul disparity and coined the memorable if nonsensical declaration, “Take that for data.”

The Knicks have struggled in recent years to bring winning basketball, much less a championship, to Madison Square Garden. The team has missed the N.B.A. playoffs in five consecutive seasons under the head coaches Mike Woodson, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis and Hornacek. It has one playoff series win in the last 18 years.

The much heralded tenure of Phil Jackson and his efforts to bring the triangle offense and his history of winning to town ended a year ago with little to show for it. The team finally gave up on its long-term star, Carmelo Anthony, sending him to the Oklahoma City Thunder before the start of last season.

The immediate future also looks bleak, as the team’s new talisman, Kristaps Porzingis, will miss the start of the season — and perhaps much more time — because of an injury.

That leaves hopes for the immediate future riding on 19-year-old Frank Ntilikina and the team’s leading scorer, Tim Hardaway Jr. Center Enes Kanter has the right to opt out of his contract for next year, though he could sign a long-term deal.

The team does have an entry in the draft lottery on May 15, although its chance for the top pick is 2.5 percent and for a top-three pick is 9 percent.