Take that for data! (And reports that Mark Jackson’s agent was trying to leverage the Knicks into hiring him!)
David Fizdale is the new head coach of the New York Knicks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
David Fizdale has agreed to a deal to become the New York Knicks coach, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 3, 2018
Fizdale will sign a four-year contract with the Knicks, league source tells ESPN. https://t.co/BPIDb3Jloh— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 3, 2018
So exciting! Fizdale is by all accounts a player’s coach, loved by the likes of the former Big 3 Heat, among others. He also coached an aging Memphis team to a 43-39 record and a first-round playoff appearance two years ago before being unceremoniously fired this past season due to tension with Marc Gasol.
There’s actually some pretty cool details from Woj’s story on the hiring. Let’s start here:
Fizdale, who coached the Memphis Grizzlies into the Western Conference playoffs in his one full season as coach, was New York’s primary target from the start of the search process.
That wasn’t really reported at all, even if Fizdale was the first coach that was reported to have set up an interview with the Knicks. Many believed David Blatt was the favorite due to his Princeton connection with President of Basketball Operations Steve Mills, and former Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was also considered a favorite after his release from Atlanta. Next on the list of things to unpack:
Fizdale on Thursday in New York met with Knicks owner James Dolan, who then gave his approval to president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry to enter into contract negotiations with Fizdale, league sources said.
My sources tell me that Fizdale was required to listen to the latest JD & the Straight Shot album in its entirety without laughing once. Next, and probably the most exciting item:
Fizdale was expected to travel to Latvia soon to meet with Knicks All-Star center Kristaps Porzingis, league sources said.
Wow, I love this guy already. If you recall, Jeff Hornacek didn’t talk to Porzingis for basically all of last offseason, let alone visiting him in Latvia. Fizdale’s been the coach for one minute and he’s already got his flight booked. It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes. Building on that point:
In his interviews with the Knicks, Fizdale stressed his willingness to learn from mistakes in the Grizzlies job and improve with the Knicks. His relationship with Porzingis will undoubtedly be important to his success in New York.
”I really just want to get back on this sideline and take what I learned from this last situation and really try to apply it to the next organization,” Fizdale said during his interview with The Jump last December. “I’m not faultless in all this stuff. I don’t want to sit here and act like that. I have mistakes that I made and things that I want to grow from and learn. So whatever kind of team that is -- whether that’s a contender or a young team trying to be a contender or a young team trying to develop -- I’m ready to face it all.”
Beautiful. Knicks fans, rejoice! Fizdale might be one of the good ones. And just remember, no matter how this all turns out, at least he’s not Mark Jackson.