Welcome to the Mecca, Coach.
According to Shams Charania of Yahoo sports, David Fizdale has agreed to a four year deal to coach the Knicks.
Fizdale was one of 11 candidates for the Knicks head coaching position but a final meeting with owner James Dolan this past Thursday sealed the deal for team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry to move forward and complete the hire.
Fizdale is the first hire for Scott Perry as Perry enters his second year on the job. Perry fired former head coach jeff Hornacek shortly at the end of the season.
Perry was seeking a head coach that was a players coach and an effective communicator. Fizdale has been known as an excellent communicator and has a unique ability to build relationships with his players.
Fizdale was previously the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. Fizdale led the Grizzlies to a 43-39 record and the 7th seed in the Western conference during the 2016-2017 season. The Grizzlies fell to the San Antonio Spurs in six games during that playoff run.
Fizdale was quickly fired in his second year as the Grizzlies coach after complying a 7-12 record. Ironically, his poor relationship with star player Marc Gasol led to his ouster. Fizdale has benched Gasol in the 4th quarter during a loss to the Brooklyn Nets while the team was in the middle of a 8 game losing streak. Gasol quickly voiced his displeasure immediately following the game to the media which forced owner Robert Pera’s hand.
Before being the head coach of the Grizzlies, Fizdale worked as the Miami Heats assistant coach for 8 seasons. During his tenure, he was able to be learn from a top 5 coach in the league today in Erik Spoelstra and a hall of famer in Pat Riley. Lebron James and Dwyane Wade were huge supporters of Fizdale during their time in Miami.
The Fizdale hire is exactly the type of hire the Knicks needed to hopefully end this drought of misery that’s plagued the Garden since the turn of the century. Management hopes Fizdale will be the right guy to fix the sinking ship and return the franchise to the playoffs.
What’s extremely encouraging to see is Fizdale plans to fly to Latvia to meet with Kristaps Porzingis to check on his rehab from the ACL tear and to talk about the team’s plan moving forward.
Fizdale has stressed that his priority is to learn from his past mistakes he made with the Grizzlies and to correct those with the Knicks going forward. Fizdale has the ability to coach up a roster and get maximum effort out of his players. Seriously go check out that Grizzlies playoff team and they had no business taking the Spurs to 6 games in that playoff series.
There’s a lot of positive buzz surrounding the hire for the Knicks. Fizdale should be able to bring in better free agents and be a much better selling point for players. Players respect him and want to play for him. That’s extremely important in today’s NBA.
Knicks should be ecstatic over this hire. This wasn’t a typical Knicks hire. Scott Perry aced his first coaching hire. Now that it’s completed the results need to show in the offseason and during the regular season.
For the first time in a long time, it finally seems as if the Knicks made a calculated decision that will help them become better for years to go. Patience Knicks fans, good times may be ahead.