NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Say this about the Knicks’ front office, it is doing its due diligence as it searches for the team’s next head coach.
Since Jeff Hornacek was fired on April 12 following a 29-win season that featured a season-ending injury to franchise forward Kristaps Porzingis, team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry have searched high and low for the next man to be entrusted with taking this seemingly interminable rebuild to the next level.
So far, Mills and Perry have reportedly interviewed candidates with varying degrees of experience. The top tier options include former Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer and former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt.
Budenholzer, 48, enjoyed a successful run with the Atlanta Hawks before a 24-58 record this past season led to his departure. Previously, he went 189-139 with three playoff appearances from 2013-17. Blatt, 58, amassed an 83-40 record with the Cleveland Cavaliers, including a trip to the 2015 NBA Finals. He was fired during the 2015-16 season despite a 30-11 start. He is believed to be a favorite of Mills’.
Other candidates with head coaching experience include Mike Woodson, who coached the Knicks for two-plus seasons before being fired in 2014, and former Knick Mark Jackson, who was fired after a 51-31 regular season and seven-game first-round playoff exit with the Golden State Warriors in 2013-14.
The other candidates either have limited head coaching experience — David Fizdale — or are currently assistants or lower-level coaches. Among the latter group, the Knicks have interviewed Jerry Stackhouse, the head coach of the Toronto Raptors’ G-League squad, Juwan Howard, an assistant with the Miami Heat, Jay Larranaga, the Boston Celtics’ top assistant, and TNT analyst Kenny Smith.
According to an ESPN report, the Knicks are planning to interview James Borrego, the San Antonio Spurs’ top assistant. Borrego, 41, is considered one of the best young assistants in the NBA due in part to his tutelage under legendary Gregg Popovich. Borrego was edged out by Fizdale for the Memphis Grizzlies’ top job prior to the 2016-17 season. After winning 43 games and making the playoffs in his first season, Fizdale was fired after winning just seven of the first 19 games this past season.