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3.15 The Cooler

Five Possible Candidates For The New York Knicks Next Head Coach

By / 03.14.12

There wasn’t a more popping bandwagon one month ago than the New York Knicks’. Remnants of a distarious first leg of the season were behind them, they were beginning to look more like a team, Mike D’Antoni’s job was once again safe, and while Carmelo was injured, some worldwide phenomenon dubbed “Linsanity” took flight. Capped with D’Antoni’s resignation earlier today and rumors of a ‘Melo trade demand, hell has once again returned to Manhattan and, truthfully, no one knows what to make of the outlook.
Mike Woodson serves as interim head coach, and unless the former Hawks signal caller goes on a biblical-like crusade through the league getting New York to the second round of the playoffs, chances are he isn’t the long term solution. So pending James Dolan, Allan Houston or anyone in the Knicks front office visit this corner of the ‘Net, we’ve already got their list of candidates.
Let’s get Captain Obvious out of the way
Phil Jackson
Look, I hate to say we told you so, but…we told you so. Not even three New York minutes after Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news of D’Antoni’s resignation, Phil Jackson’s name erupted as the Knickerbockers coach-in-waiting. Jackson, a former Knick himself, never definitively ruled out returning to coaching and if there were ever a situation that begged for his guidance, the traffic jam that is his beloved Knicks is the case.
For as great a storyline as it is – and if it happens, New York City better not play that damn “Coming Home” track from Diddy whenever his name is mentioned – there are tons of questions surrounding Jackson. Can his health hold up? Does he actually want to coach again? Does he have the patience to teach the triangle at this point in his life? Will his ol’ lady, Jeanie Buss, sign off on this? And, most importantly, will the Knicks allow him to smoke peyote?
Pat Riley
Ok, while from the upper deck of left field, imagine the build up with this scenario. After rumors of division between Pat Riley and Miami’s three headed monster of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Riley shocks the world to return to the sideline to coach the Heat’s late ’90’s rival and old stomping grounds of Madison Square Garden. Suddenly, every Heat/Knicks game mimics that of an Eastern Conference finals matchup with Pat wanting nothing more to embarrass his pupil, Spoelstra, and the triumvirate he assembled in July of 2010.
Yeah, totally impossible, we know. But if Riley pulled it off, LeBron detractors and Heat antagonists across the world would gravel at the feet of Pat Riley labeling him the “Hardwood Messiah.” Meanwhile, I just threw myself in a semi-depression thinking of the possibility. That would absolutely be the worst thing ever.
Jeff Van Gundy
JVG’s just fine in the booth by my standards, so here’s to hoping this doesn’t happen unless ESPN agrees to bring me on as a part time color commentator which would be the greatest decision ever in the history of great decisions. If it did, however, not many more people would be accustomed and battle tested to dealing with the overall pressure cooker that is New York than Stan’s older brother.
And, for what it’s worth, if a brawl happened, you already know Van Gundy would be right there in the mix going to war with his players.
Patrick Ewing
Pat’s been vying for a head coaching position for years it seems with no luck. What better place to actually give him a shot than the team he helped carry for over a decade? Last summer, Ewing flirted with the idea telling Michael Kay, while he did not know James Dolan basically at all, “I should probably pick up the phone and give him a call.” With the future of the Orlando Magic teetering on the brink of disaster – and I don’t care how many times Dwight’s saying he’s “all in” for this season – there’s no better time to hit the high road for Patrick.
Walt Frazier
This needs to happen, if for no other reason, than to hear Walt’s post game press conferences. They’d be instant YouTube sensations thanks to his acrobatic wordplay. And if he did accept the position as Knicks head coach, there would have to be a stipulation in his contract saying he had to dress like this every game.
Just throwing it out there, too, Walt knows a thing or two about the point guard position. I’m just saying.
At least we know where French Montana got his fur coat from now
Bonus: Nah, I’m just messing with you, Knicks fans. Even I wouldn’t wish that type of ill will on you (again).


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