David Fizdale has agreed to a contract to become the New York Knicks’ next head coach, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Fizdale emerged as the frontrunner, league sources told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday, and the former Memphis Grizzlies coach met with Knicks owner James Dolan on Thursday. Some team officials were split between hiring Fizdale or hiring former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt before their final meeting with Blatt.
The Knicks interviewed a wide array of candidates for their vacant head-coaching position, including Blatt, former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson and former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, league sources said.
Fizdale emerged as a leading candidate after the Knicks fired Jeff Hornacek on April 12, but the front office made sure to do its due diligence in meeting with more than 10 coaching candidates. The Knicks’ front office met with accomplished head coaches – such as Budenhozler, the 2014-15 Coach of the Year, Jackson, Mike Brown and Mike Woodson, who coached the Knicks from 2011-14 – as well as strong assistant candidates in San Antonio’s James Borrego, Boston’s Jay Larranaga and Miami’s Juwan Howard.
Fizdale, 43, has a reputation for forging strong player relationships and has a championship pedigree as part of two title teams in Miami. He was fired in his second year as Memphis Grizzlies head coach last season after a 7-12 start. He helped lead Memphis to a 43-39 record and postseason berth in 2016-17.
Fizdale brings the Knicks one of the most desirable coaches on the market. The Phoenix Suns also expressed significant interest in Fizdale for their coaching vacancy, league sources said, before they hired Igor Kokoskov on Wednesday.
Fizdale was an assistant for Golden State, Atlanta and Miami from 2003-16 before landing his first head-coaching job in Memphis.
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