Team Set to Make Offer to Phoenix HC D'Antoni
Whatever choice the Knicks make as far as their head coach goes, it will be an improvement. The departed Isiah Thomas set the standard for what not to do and new team president Donnie Walsh will look to put his stamp on the team with this, which will be his most important decision.
One of the candidates for the position is Phoenix Suns head coach Mike D'Antoni, who has been given permission by the team to speak to other NBA teams following the Suns' ouster in the first round of the playoffs versus San Antonio. Over four seasons, D'Antoni posted a 232-96 record and reached the western Conference finals on two separate occasions.
Both the Knicks and Chicago Bulls have interviewed D'Antoni, with the Knicks set to offer him a reportedly "staggering" financial offer to lure him from the desert to midtown. Believed to be more interested in the Bulls' job, D'Antoni will have to be convinced - even if it because of money - that taking over a disaster like the Knicks is a better situation.
In the event Walsh does not get D'Antoni, it has been reported that Mark Jackson will be the most likely to get the nod. The former Knick point guard does not have any coaching experience, which is probably the reason why he does not have the job already.
"I think its pretty well known that until a guy gets the job, he doesn't have the job, and so therefore it's open," Walsh said. "In saying that, I do think a lot of Mark, and I think a lot of some of the other guys."
Some of the other names that have been mentioned are Avery Johnson, the recently fired Dallas Mavericks head coach, and Tom Thibodeau, an assistant coach on the Boston Celtics. Johnson was being lauded until the Mavs were bounced out of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, and Thibodeau's team is currently playing in the second round versus Cleveland.
It would behoove the Knicks to have their new bench boss in place by the time the NBA Draft comes around on June 26, if not for the draft lottery on May 20. The draft will be Walsh's second-biggest decision after naming a coach, and to have the new regime lined up for that would be ideal.
The Knicks were tied with the Los Angeles Clippers with the fifth-worst record in the league at 23-59. Only Miami, Minnesota, Memphis and Seattle had less wins.
Some of the big names that will be available in this year's crop are Michael Beasley (Kansas State), O.J. Mayo (USC), Derrick Rose (Memphis), and Kevin Love (UCLA).
If things are to start going the Knicks way, the ping-pong balls will fall their way. Any of the players mentioned would be a welcome addition to a roster that needs an influx of talent and exuberance.
The sun may shine on the Knicks soon enough, but what direction its rays are coming from is the question.