Eisley the only remaining (so far) from previous coaching staff

With David Fizdale bringing in his own staff, three Knicks assistants from last season – Jerry Sichting, Corey Gaines and Dave Bliss – won’t return to the team, the Daily News has learned.

Coaching associate Pat Licursi is also gone, sources said.

Howard Eisley, who was an assistant under Jeff Hornacek, could remain on the staff.

via Stefan Bondy and Frank Isola, New York Daily News

Knicks in advanced talks with Clippers assistant Pat Sullivan about role with Fizdale

The Knicks are in advanced talks with Los Angeles Clippers assistant Pat Sullivan about an assistant role on David Fizdale’s staff, per ESPN sources. Sullivan has coached with the Clippers for the past two seasons.

Prior to that, he’d been an assistant in Washington, Detroit and with the then New Jersey Nets. Sullivan, a New Jersey native, coached in Detroit when Knicks GM Scott Perry was an executive with the club. As a player, he was a part of three Final Four teams at North Carolina. He also was an assistant coach for three Final Four teams at UNC. The Knicks are also in serious talks with Lakers assistant Jud Buechler, per sources, and are expected to add Memphis assistant Keith Smart as a top assistant to Fizdale.

via Ian Begley, ESPN


Jud Buechler in serious contention for assistant job

The Knicks are talking seriously with Lakers assistant Jud Buechler about joining new head coach David Fizdale’s staff as an assistant, per ESPN sources. Buechler has coached as an assistant under Luke Walton with the Lakers, where he worked in player development. A 12-year veteran, Buechler won three titles as a Chicago Bull for teams coached by ex-Knicks president Phil Jackson. Memphis assistant Keith Smart is also expected to be a top assistant under Fizdale.

via Ian Begley, ESPN

Pat Delany another candidate for assistant coach job

David Bliss could stay with Knicks

David Bliss, for the second offseason in a row, could keep his player development job based on his relationship with Kristaps Porzingis.

When Hornacek and associate coach Kurt Rambis were fired at the Westchester Airport after landing from Cleveland in the wee hours of April 12, Hornacek’s other assistants — Jerry Sichting, Corey Gaines, Eisley and David Bliss — were kept on until further notice There could be a scenario in which Bliss is also kept, since he was a Kristaps Porzingis favorite.

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Get to know Nick Van Exel

It has been reported by Stefan Bondy that Van Exel will join Fizdale’s staff as an assistant coach.

Everyone knows Nick Van Exel the player, what about as a coach?

  • Head Coaching experience in G-League for Texas Legends (2015-16)
  • Played in Golden State when Fizdale was an assistant (2003-04)
  • Assistant coach to Fizdale in Memphis (2016-17)

Maxwell Ogden has an excellent write-up on Van Exel and how he could help the Knicks

Van Exel: “With [Fizdale], he coached me at Golden State. We had a pretty good relationship there. We’ve always kept in touch. Any time I would be in Atlanta, as a player, we spoke. Even as a coach, we spoke. Even when he went to Miami, we kept in contact and went out to eat a few times here and there. One thing I know about Coach Fizz is, he’s a winner. He’s been with Miami for a while, but he has a passion and a drive. I think he has a vision – a clear vision on what he wants to get done with these guys here. I like his vision.”

via NBA.com

Knicks talked to LeBron James’ agent about Fizdale

Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry […] reach[ed] out to Rich Paul, [LeBron] James’ longtime agent and childhood friend from Akron, according to an NBA source.

Paul, the source said, gave Knicks brass the lowdown on Fizdale’s methods. Paul also represents Ben McLemore, a small forward whom Fizdale signed to play for Memphis last summer. However, Fizdale, 43, got fired during McLemore’s first season there.

Interestingly, Paul will also represent Miles Bridges, the Michigan State small forward the Knicks will consider if they stick at No. 9 in next month’s NBA draft.

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Jay Wright preferred Villanova to Knicks

When the Villanova coach’s agent, Carl Hirsch, told him the Knicks had expressed interest in talking to him about their then-vacant head-coaching position, Wright was flattered. However, he told his agent to tell the Knicks thanks, but no thanks.

It’s not that you’re not interested, I just don’t want to leave,” Wright told The Post on Tuesday. “It’s the Knicks. You love the Garden, you love New York City, you love the Knicks. I just know I don’t want to leave Villanova.”

via Zach Braziller, New York Post

Vorkunov on Fizdale

An NBA head coaching position is a political job. There is the tactical work and the player development and in-game maneuvering, and all that is important. But the job demands subtlety and personality and prestige, too. There are stars to woo and franchise players to mollify. There is a team to coach; and a front office and owner to manage up.

via Mike Vorkunov, The Athletic

Fizdale is not teflon. His handling of Marc Gasol left him without a job last November. The relationship was rocky, according to reports and confirmed by league sources. Fizdale was not blameless. He brought up his time with the Heat and how it worked during his championship days there, which wore on his audience. He diminished Gasol’s international accomplishments with Spain’s national team. That Gasol was close to Grizzlies owner Robert Pera likely did not help his cause.

via Mike Vorkunov, The Athletic

Fizdale always looking to improve; Owns up to mistakes

Former Nets guard and Grizzlies radio announcer, Elliot Perry, gleams about Fizdale:

“He’s always searching on how you can get better,’’ Perry said. “You think every coach searches, but he’s always searching for that information. We can play this way, but if it doesn’t work, we can make those adjustments. How can we get better, even if it’s marginally better, even if it’s one step, what does that look like?’’

“The biggest asset is when he makes a mistake, he owns up to the mistake,’’ Perry said. “You will see it a number of times in his press conferences. When something happens during a game that was his fault, he will say it’s his fault and he’ll have to get better. That’s unusual for coaches. You’ll find out he’s a tremendous communicator and will not run from problems.”

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Fizdale interested in challenge of Knicks; Operates outside the margin

Former Nets guard and Grizzlies radio announcer, Elliot Perry, talks about why Fizdale was excited to take the Knicks job:

“We’ve texted back and forth, and when I was congratulating him on the job, one thing interesting he said was the challenge of it all interested him,’’ Perry told The Post. “He knows it’s going to be a challenging, tough job. He’s a guy who’s up for the challenge of being in New York, being in the big city, being on the stage.

“That’s the one thing I mentioned to him. You’re never off stage in New York as head coach. You’re not always on the stage in Memphis. He wanted the challenge. He thinks there’s talent there. He thought it was a good fit.”

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Perry continues:

“I think it’s a good move,’’ Perry said. “But it depends on what an organization wants. Do you want a coach that really can think outside the margins? He operates outside the margin. Fizdale is not a traditional coach. He communicates with his players — at times to make players uncomfortable.’’

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Fizdale brings Pat Riley style back to NY

Marc Berman (New York Post) interviewed Brevin Knight (Grizzlies announcer) about David Fizdale. Knight mentioned how Fizdale copies a lot of things from Pat Riley.

You’ll see a lot of little control things that mimic Riley,’’ Knight said. “Things on the walls he’ll change, messages to bring a winning-a-championship mindset to put on the wall. And he’ll always talk of those little things we did in Miami and won. He’s adopted a lot of Rileyisms.’’

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Fizdale learning to coach international players

Brevin Knight, a former NBA point guard and longtime Grizzlies announcer, gives his thoughts on how Fizdale can use his Memphis experience in New York.

All eyes are on Fizdale’s relationship with Latvian Kristaps Porzingis and rookie Frenchman Frank Ntilikina — the Knicks’ two international building blocks. Fizdale plans to fly to Latvia shortly.

KNIGHT: “If there was an issue of coaching internationals, it was a learning experience for him — one in which he didn’t have to deal with in Miami [with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh] in terms of their star players,’’ Knight said. “Now he’ll face it front and center being there in New York.’’

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Juwan Howard unlikely to join Fizdale in NY; Woodson and Johansen possibilities

Regarding Juwan Howard, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll be joining David Fizdale’s staff in New York, per sources.

Howard, a current Miami assistant, interviewed for the Knicks job. Fizdale may want him on his staff, but Miami would have to give the Knicks permission to allow him to leave, which is highly unlikely.

via Ian Begley, ESPN

Begley acknowledged the report on Keith Smart joining the staff (without confirming it) and mentions Memphis scout Adam Johansen and ex-Knicks coach Mike Woodson as possible candidates.

Nick Van Exel refutes NY Daily News

Stefan Bondy included a quote in his recent piece about what went wrong for David Fizdale in Memphis that Nick Van Exel took exception to. Van Exel was an assistant to Fizdale in Memphis, and could be a candidate to join him in New York.

I get it, you want Gregg Popovich, and I want LeBron James,” the coach told his star player, according to a source [reported by Stefan Bondy].

Fizdale learned from Spo’ to “Embrace Discomfort”

“I’m not coaching basketball, I’m not getting paid the money I’m getting paid to be liked. Nick Saban isn’t getting paid to be liked at Alabama. I don’t think he’s very liked by a lot of people. But he’s respected and he’s a winner. The guys who have gone through that gauntlet with him and won they love him. But he pushes buttons and he challenges people and he goes to a level that’s going to be uncomfortable. That’s how I’m built.

“Spo’s greatest line, I thought is, ‘Embrace discomfort.’ I feel I try to create it as much as possible. I don’t want to overdo it and [tick] people off but I’m also going to push you to the place that I know can get us to the title.”

via Al Iannazzone, Newsday

Fizdale from an unlikely coaching tree (link has vintage college pics of Fiz)

Fizdale, 43, played point guard under head coach Hank Egan at the University of San Diego during his college career, from 1992-1996 […] He then pursued coaching full time, working his way up the college and NBA ranks to become the fifth former Torero to become the head coach of an NBA team. It is one of the unlikeliest coaching trees to have grown on the basketball landscape.

The previous four made men from San Diego were: Bernie Bickerstaff (Seattle, Denver, Washington, Charlotte, and Los Angeles-interim), Eric Musselman (Golden State and Sacramento), Mike Brown (Cleveland and Los Angeles) and James Borrego (Orlando-interim). Fizdale took the reins of the Memphis Grizzles in 2016, and he lasted one full season before being fired after 19 games in the second year.

via Kevin Armstrong, New York Daily News

Make sure you click to the article for some vintage photos of Fiz in college.

Courtney Lee believes Fizdale showed great leadership in Memphis

“Even in his time in Memphis, you can tell he was focused on a team or getting better — whether it was holding your best player accountable or your worst player accountable. He wasn’t afraid to be confrontational and get his message across. So that’s a quality I like about him.”

When asked specifically about the Gasol rift, Lee said, “I think that shows great leadership that he’s willing to put his job in jeopardy to try to do what’s best for the team or if he feels he has a disagreement with the best player on the team, he’s not afraid to go and express that to him.”

via Al Iannazzone, Newsday

Coaches who gave Fizdale his shot always knew he was special

After his playing days as an All-West Coast Conference guard, David Fizdale returned to his University of San Diego alma mater as a graduate assistant on then-coach Brad Holland’s staff. He quickly made an impression.

The first day of coaching, Dave walked in, stopped practiced and started telling guys what to do. Brad and I kind of sat back, didn’t say anything and went to the office. I go, ‘Wow, he’s good isn’t he?’ ” said then-assistant Kyle Smith, now University of San Francisco head coach. “We said, ‘Dave is going to be really good at this.’ ”

via Marc Berman, New York Post

“When he was in Miami a few years ago, I got a phone call. He said, ‘I’ve been watching your Venezuelan National Team play. Some of these sets you’re running with ball movement and multiple players touching the ball, I’d love to pick your brain on,’ ” Musselman said. “That resonated with me: ‘Who is spending an NBA offseason watching game tape of the Venezuelan National Team?’ ”

via Marc Berman, New York Post