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WOJ: Steve Mills is angling to oust David Fizdale

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Not entirely surprising given that press conference last night

David Fizdale Press Conference Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The shit is officially starting to hit the fan just 10 games into this young 2019-20 season.

Following an unprecedented and emotional impromptu press conference last night by Knicks President Steve Mills and General Manager Scott Perry, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski today reported that Mills in particular is angling to get David Fizdale fired.

Even before a startling news conference in the wake of a blowout loss to Cleveland on Sunday, New York Knicks president Steve Mills had started to lay the internal groundwork for the eventual dismissal of coach David Fizdale, league sources told ESPN.

Honestly, based on the comments last night, that’s not surprising. When Mills and Perry were directly confronted and asked if they still supported Fizdale, they of course said yes for public appearances. But hosting a press conference 10 games into a season and questioning the team’s effort level over and over does not exactly give off a vibe of actual confidence in a coach whose main selling point is getting players to buy in.

Now the flip side of the Woj report is that, apparently, Mills wants owner James Dolan to believe the Knicks should be some form of competitive in the East. Which, like, no.

Mills is selling owner James Dolan on a roster constructed to be highly competitive in the Eastern Conference, leaving Fizdale vulnerable to an ouster only weeks into the second season of a four-year contract that league sources say is worth $22 million.

I’m personally of the belief that Fizdale has done a lot wrong this season. Rotations have been inconsistent, his ways of rewarding and punishing players still seem to go against his stated goals for the team (defense and ball movement!), he’s been using the team’s highest-paid player in a role that’s clearly uncomfortable for him, and his play-calling is uninspired at best. That said, assuming this team could make the playoffs or be (gulp) competitive in the scope of the entire conference is probably a bit of a stretch. The rest of the league seems to agree:

Rival coaches and executives see a mismatched Knicks roster slow of foot, without legitimate NBA guard play, but Mills is selling Dolan on a poorly coached team that is underachieving at 2-8 to start the season, league sources said. Around Madison Square Garden and the league, the timing and tone of the news conference was met with considerable surprise and dismay — and it was considered to be a complete undermining of Fizdale.

So it sounds like we’re in for a fun couple weeks or more. If things continue the way they have, David Fizdale might not be long for the Knicks.