Holy cow, right? Everything is flippy-trippy right now. The East is West, small ball is the way to win and the coaches get paid to stay home. Kevin McHale, David Blatt, Lionel Hollins, Jeff Hornacek and now Derek Fisher have all been fired. George Karl seems to be next up. Sam Mitchell has been interim head coach because Flip Saunders passed away, so his tenure will draw to a close. Byron Scott and Randy Wittman don't seem to be too far behind. That's nearly a third of the league!
In an effort to track some of the potential coaches that may head to New York in the wake of this news, here are your Knicks potential-coach power rankings:
1. Luke Walton -- At the helm of the most dynamic team in the NBA, Walton mashed the drive and kick button to enormous success. Then Steve Kerr returned from his back problems, Walton reverted to his assistant spot, and the success kept right on coming. As a player Walton was known as a conduit for great players to flow through. He spent several years with the Lakers under Phil Jackson, so he knows the Triangle. He is highly unlikely to leave the Warriors during this historic season and will probably need to get P-A-I-D to do so next season. He will also have his pick of the coaching litter should he decide he wants to jump ship.
2. Brian Shaw - Here we have a Triangle mangler that doesn't necessarily know how to connect with the youth. He coached the Denver Nuggets to a 56-85 record before being shown the exit. He was also a highly regarded assistant for the Lakers and Pacers. He would figure to be the type of character that Phil Jackson can trust, that the current coaching staff already feels comfortable with and that would do (more or less) what he's told.
3. Kurt Rambis - Well he is the current head coach. Rambis is a company man and will serve with a smile.
4. Mark Jackson - Native New Yorker, preacher man and weird spy/jerk. Has been pretty open about wanting to coach again and has a massive platform from which to campaign. Seems an unlikely choice but also seems like the type of guy that would (know how to) say whatever it takes to get his foot in the door. It's possible that he'd be willing to run some Triangle stuff even if he did it all wrong. Seems unafraid of some self sabotage.
5. Scott Brooks - He was once a Knick, therefore he is always a Knick. Brooks has coached major stars and has a long track record of supporting young players as they grew into their stardom. There are a few Thunder assistants on the current Knicks staff that I'm sure would be happy to see their old leader stroll into the Garden. Brooks, by all accounts, is one of the NBA good guys. Always coached a great defense and relied on his stars to make the offense work. That might leave just enough space for Phil Jackson to feel like he can still learn this old dog some new tricks. Ya also gotta wonder if Kevin Durant would want to play for him again. Hmm...
6. Patrick Ewing - Long time assistant that just can't seem to get a look as a head coach. New Yorkers would salivate over the big fella and would probably accept some extended tough times as the management assembled a stronger team around its core.
7. Becky Hammon - Currently an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs, Hammon seems to be yet another Greg Popovich disciple destined for greatness. It would be a huge boon to the NBA and humanity for a woman to take the reins of one of the most visible and expensive franchises in sports. Sadly there would still be a patriarch lurking in the background, overseeing her success.
8. David Blatt - The recently fired Cavs head honcho probably has every intention of proving he can hang on the NBA stage as soon as possible. What better place to do it then in the city that has the best knishes in all the land? He would certainly be welcomed with open arms. Some sort of native son.
8 & 1/2 Isiah Thomas - Sick lunatic snake. He will do whatever it takes to wrest control from Phil Jackson and has a scary history of lies and deception. He's in bed with the organization's owner. James Dolan loves this guy.
9. Tom Thibodeau - Current USA Basketball assistant and long time NBA grinder that led the Chicago Bulls to oodles of success before grating on the team and the organization and getting the ax. He clearly wants another job somewhere and has been touring the league lately. He used to coach in New York behind Jeff Van Gundy and it won't be long before he finds his way back to the big show. James Dolan hates this guy.
10. Jeff Van Gundy - Weird as it may seem, this is one of the last guys to coach a good Knicks team. Van Gundy went on to coach some very successful Rockets teams and has been broadcasting for quite a while. He certainly seems happy in the booth. He has intimated in the past that he regrets ditching the Knicks, so it would seem logical that a chance to coach the best young big man since Patrick Ewing would entice him. He has also made it very clear that he would never come after someone's job during the season. It just so happens that there is a job for the taking. Not to be forgotten: James Dolan hates this guy.
The P&T crew will be going into a great deal more depth on many of these candidates with individual profiles coming soon ... except for Isiah.