The New York Knicks are not a good basketball team in the early days of the 2019-20 season. After whiffing on every big free agent and moving forward with No. 3 overall pick RJ Barrett and a variety of power forwards, this is not a terrible shock. But apparently the Knicks' front office expected better than the 2-8 hole New York finds itself in early on, as Adrian Wojnarowski reports with Malika Andrews that president Steve Mills is already moving the required pieces into place to fire head coach David Fizdale.
From an outside perspective, it seems Fizdale is getting the short end of the stick and paying for the front office's failures after trading Kristaps Porzinigis and failing to land a big name over the offseason. But that's a blog for another time. For now, here are three potential replacements the Knicks could look at if and when Fizdale is kicked to the curb.
Stan Van Gundy
The Van Gundy brothers are usually the first names thrown out when it comes to open coaching positions. It's hard to imagine Jeff would want to return to the franchise after his previous tenure, so we'll go with Stan here, last seen coaching the Detroit Pistons. Similar to his brother, Stan is an old-school and hard-nosed coach whose brand of tough love could be what the young Knicks need. He's also a good defensive coach, which is probably more valuable to New York right now than an offensive-minded coach; Barrett has no trouble getting buckets, but installing good defensive habits early on can only help him, as well as Mitchell Robinson. Like most retreads, you know just what you're getting with this Van Gundy, and while he may not be able to bring this group to their highest potential on both ends of the floor, he'll give them a steady and solid foundation.
Kidd comes with clear question marks after his ugly exit from Brooklyn and how much the Bucks flourished once he was replaced with Mike Budenholzer. But if the Knicks are looking for a brand name and a coach comfortable with bringing along young talent, Kidd fits the bill-- especially if Kidd takes some lessons away from spending the season in Los Angeles under Frank Vogel and one of the league's better defenses. Despite his disputes with front offices, all of his players would go to war for him, and Giannis Antetokounmpo even fondly reminisced about his time under Kidd only last week. The combination of Kidd and this front office does seem like a disaster waiting to happen; it also seems like the most likely option as a combination of a big name and reasonably successful track record.
Jackson is another name regularly floated around when a coaching position opens, even if he comes with some red flags like Kidd. He was solid as coach of the Warriors, but their jump from good team to dynasty without him speaks volumes, as well as the fact that his exit was anything but graceful. However, also like Kidd, he's a known quantity who does deserve a modicum of credit for bringing along younger versions of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. If the Knicks buy into Jackson's ability to create a good culture that, from all reports, he failed to do in Golden State, then he'll likely be at the top of their list.