As we approach the NBA Playoffs, the Knicks (31-48) are in an all-too-familiar position of starting their summer early. Also, the head coaching seat has a question mark hovering over it going into next season.
Legendary Knicks center Patrick Ewing believes he can come back to New York and be the man for the job. Now an assistant coach for the Charlotte Hornets, Ewing stated on Wednesday after the Hornets beat the Knicks 111-97, that he wants to be considered for the Knicks job:
“You know, this is a great fit for me. I have my number up there [in the Garden rafters]. I still live in the area. If I get an opportunity for an interview, I’d be happy.
“I’ve been doing this, what, 13 years now? I see people who don’t have the same amount on their résumé as I do and still have gotten opportunities. It is what it is. All I can do is continue to work, continue to get better at my craft, and hopefully one day somebody will give me an opportunity and I’ll show that I’m ready.”
The elephant in the room is Phil Jackson, and whether the Knicks president will step back into the role and work his Zen Master-coaching style with his triangle offense to bring the team back into playoff contention. But Jackson has no desire to coach again, which begs two questions: (1) Who else among available marquee head coach prospects—such as Mark Jackson, Tom Thibodeau and David Blatt—might get the gig; and (2) since Ewing has been an assistant for the Magic, Rockets and Hornets for 13 years, why haven’t the Knicks interviewed him yet?
Jackson is reportedly advocating for his protégé, Kurt Rambis, who has led the team to an 8-16 record as interim head coach after Derek Fisher was fired on Feb. 8. Rambis worked two stints as an assistant coach under Jackson during Jackson’s tenure with the Lakers.