The New York Knicks made a plethora of changes to their front office recently. But the team isn't done making moves, and head coach could be the next position where a change is made. While there isn't a firm timetable in place for the Knicks to name a new coach, there is "legitimate internal support" within the organization to hire Kenny Atkinson as the team's next head coach, according to Ian Begley of SNY.
Atkinson was fired by the Brooklyn Nets in March after leading the team to the postseason in 2019. According to Begley, Atkinson's ability to develop younger players is a big factor in the Knicks' interest in him, as they have a young roster that includes RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and Kevin Knox. From Begley:
With regards to Atkinson, the support among some at MSG for the former Nets head coach stems, in part, from the success he's had developing young players. As a head coach in Brooklyn and an assistant with New York and Atlanta, Atkinson built a reputation as one of the top player development coaches in the NBA.
The Knicks have several young players - RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina - on the roster. The club also has two first-round picks and one early second-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Unless New York uses those players and picks in a package for a trade, the club will have one of the youngest rosters in the NBA next season.
Obviously, Atkinson isn't the only candidate on the Knicks' radar, as former Bulls and Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau is reportedly a top candidate for the team. Knicks interim coach Mike Miller, who took over after David FIzdale was fired in December, is also expected to get an interview. Whoever ultimately gets the gig will be tasked with molding and developing the young roster and in turn, leading the Knicks back to perennial contention in the Eastern Conference. In early March, Leon Rose was officially named the Knicks' new president. After taking the job, Rose asked Knicks fans for patience as he tries to help the team climb back to contention.
"Our team has young talent, significant future assets [including seven first-round picks over the next four years] and an ample amount of financial flexibility in the coming years," Rose said. "Everyone -- from ownership to athletes to staff and especially our fans -- wants this team to be a winner. We will have all the resources necessary to create a great organization -- one that supports our efforts to build a winning culture and gives Knicks fans, and the city of New York, the team you deserve."
When it comes to coaches, the Knicks haven't had much luck recently. Since 2012, they have shuffled through seven different coaches, and they only have one playoff series victory to show for it. With Rose now calling the shots, the organization will look to turn around their luck in that department with their next hire.