Knicks owner James Dolan confirmed David Fizdale’s appoint for a four-year term as next coach of New York Knicks. Dolan and Fizdale had held a discussion on Thursday, in this regard. General Manager Scott Perry would now arrange for the contract negotiation with Fizdale, collaborated League sources.
The appointee-coach was head-hunted by Knicks among much competition from Orlando, Atlanta, and Charlotte.
Coming from Memphis Grizzlies
David Fizdale will begin work with Knicks at the end of a full season with Memphis Grizzlies at the Western Conference playoffs. The new coach is expected to make an announcement on his appointment with Knicks at a news conference early next week, stated League sources.
Knicks’ has not been very lucky with its coaches and in the past 18 years, beginning 2001 season, and the just-announced coach is their 11th coach.
Fizdale’s immediate objective is to get Knicks up among the playoffs, as they have failed to make that cut in over five seasons thus far.
Another crucial meeting ahead is with Knicks All-Star Center Kristaps Porzingis, as he is the epicenter around whom Knicks hopes to build a young and successful team. Currently, Porzingis is recovering from a torn ACL but will hit the floors midway of next season.
Thus far, Knicks already own their first-round draft picks and will be clearing salary cap space by 2019.
Focus on “understanding today’s player.”
According to Steve Mills, the President of Knicks, “today’s players are very different from yesterday’s players,” and coaches have to be aware of these nuances. Commenting on the new induction, Mills stated that it is very important for the coach too,” understand who these guys are, where they come from, what their basketball journey is.”
Fizdale’s credentials speak for themselves as he belongs to the training stable of Miami Heat coach, Erik Spoelstra’s, as an assistant coach for eight years. During his stint, he built the ability to connect and communicate with players, strong teaching as well as tactical skills. His personal relationships with LeBron and Dwyane Wade are well documented.
None can vouch for his assistant’s abilities better than Spoelstra himself, “He’s a brilliant basketball mind that has exceptional, gold-standard level communication skills.” Proud of his association with him, Spoelstra added that “he’s one of my best friends. But I say that objectively. I just think he’s one of the most talented coaches I’ve been around.”
However, Fizdale’s stint with Grizzlies was not without fire. After a big 43-39 season in 2016-17, losing six games to San Antonio Spurs resulted in his exit. Things did not just end with the losses largely because he benched All-Star center Marc Gasol in the fourth quarter loss against Brooklyn Nets.
After the firing, the coach and Gasol acknowledged the wrong move of the former moving away, “That’s the league. The best player and the coach aren’t always going to get along, and that’s just how it goes sometimes. He was the best player on teams, and I’m sure he didn’t always love his coach. It’s just unfortunate circumstances how it all played out on the stage. But that’s just normal stuff. Whether we like each or not it’s not about that; it’s about winning games.”
Fizdale continued to emphasize that he has moved on from his mistakes at Grizzlies and will focus on improving at Knicks.