David Fizdale Fired: Where Do the New York Knicks Go From Here?
Posting and Toasting
Knick head coach David Fizdale was fired after two straight 35-point losses. The writing on the wall came after Knicks President Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry publicly admonished the players and coaches after an embarrassing 21-point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The players never seemed to recover from the controversy and the defeats continued piling up. Inevitably James Dolan decided to cut his losses a quarter-way through the season and move forward in a different direction. The Knicks have promoted assistant Mike Miller to the interim head coach but the question on every Knick fan’s mind is, “where do we go from here?”
It’s being reported that James Dolan has set his sights on Masai Ujiri to replace Steve Mills as team president. Former Golden State head coach Mark Jackson’s name has been tossed around as a possible replacement for David Fizdale.
All signs are pointing toward an organizational cleanse this summer. Unlike in years past, the Knicks have quietly put together a cache of multiple first and second round picks for future drafts. R.J. Barrett has been advertised for the orange and blue putting together a solid rookie campaign with 14.3 PPG 5.3 RPG and 3.3 APG. Mitchell Robinson has continued to build off of his momentum from last season and is emerging as one of the game’s premier interior defenders. Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, and Frank Ntilikina have underperformed for various reasons (injuries, playing time, etc.) early on in the season but continue to show flashes of their lottery talents.
None of these assets may morph into bona fide NBA superstar but they’ll have trade value down the road because of how relatively young these players are. The rest of the roster is made up of cap friendly, short-term veteran deals and low-risk reclamation projects. The next regime will have the draft capital and cap flexibility to reimagine the roster as they see fit.
The Knicks have a .400 winning percentage since 2000, that’s the worst winning percentage in the NBA in that timeframe. The losing aligns with Dolan’s tenure as majority owner of the New York Knicks. Perennial coach of the year candidates Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr have gone out of their way to support Fizdale while questioning the decision making of Knicks’ leadership.
The Knicks front office has a reputation for being dysfunctional, and it starts and ends with James Dolan, the most vilified man in all of basketball. The bottom line is if Dolan wants to attract top tier executives, he needs to work on restoring the team’s image amongst players, agents, and coaches.