The Knicks continue their pursuit to replace David Fizdale as the team's permanent head coach, and so far, three names have dominated New York's coaching search. Tom Thibodeau has emerged as an early favorite, former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson has support within the organization as well, and interim coach Mike Miller did an admirable job in filling in after Fizdale was fired. However, new president of basketball operations Leon Rose has cast a wide net in the search for his first coaching hire.
That process has turned up a couple of new candidates. The Knicks have received permission to interview Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Kidd spent the last season of his playing career with the Knicks, and the franchise reportedly believes he could help them acquire Giannis Antetokounmpo in the summer of 2021, per Steve Popper of Newsday. Kidd, of course, previously coached the Greek Freak during his stint in charge of the Milwaukee Bucks. Also set to be interviewed is Golden State Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported on Monday.
A number of other coaching candidates have recently entered the fray as well. Philadelphia 76ers assistant Ime Udoka, who previously worked with Brown under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs, will also interview for the Knicks job, according to Charania. So will Orlando Magic assistant Pat Delany, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, and Chicago Bulls assistant Chris Fleming, according to The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov. Another name to watch for a potential interview, according to Newsday's Steve Popper, is Spurs assistant Becky Hammon. Former Knicks coach Mike Woodson is the only other candidate known to be interviewing.
If those are indeed the serious candidates for the jobs, a few trends have emerged. The potential first-time coaches listed are all on the younger end, with Fleming the oldest at 50, and they all have experience with winning organizations. Udoka and Hammon both came up under Popovich in San Antonio. Delany began his career under Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra with the Miami Heat. Fleming worked under Atkinson in Brooklyn as well as spending time with the Denver Nuggets.
Player development also appears to be a priority. Young players like Frank Ntilikina and Mitchell Robinson displayed meaningful improvement under Miller's watch, and Atkinson's work with Brooklyn's unheralded young players is well known. Udoka has a strong reputation for player development as well. As badly as the Knicks want to pursue star free agents, growing the core of young talent in place appears to be the team's focus for the time being.
Though the process is underway, and the Knicks are interviewing head coaches virtually, per Stein, don't expect a decision any time soon. The search is expected to last into July.