Knicks plan to talk to Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer

Knicks plan to talk to Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer

The Knicks reportedly plan to discuss their vacancy with Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer, further expanding what is already a wide net.

Budenholzer is still under contract with the Hawks but has been given permission by the club to interview with other teams. The 2015 Coach of the Year already interviewed with the Suns but reportedly withdrew from consideration.

New York’s plan to talk to Budenholzer was reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which also wrote that the coach may still return to the Hawks.

Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer

Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer

(Morry Gash/AP)

The Knicks have already interviewed at least five people (Kenny Smith, Stackhouse, Mark Jackson, Mike Woodson, David Fizdale) and another, David Blatt, scheduled for next week.

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Pete Carril: Mills won't just hand David Blatt the Knicks' job

Pete Carril: Mills won't just hand David Blatt the Knicks' job

It’s an open secret that David Blatt’s spot among the top Knicks coaching candidates is about who he knows.

That’s not meant to be a knock on Blatt’s credentials — which are vast and impressive — but being the former college teammate of an NBA team president, especially when they went to Princeton, has its perks. Steve Mills already hired one of his former Princeton teammates to run player development in New York — Craig Robinson — and Blatt was given consideration by the Knicks two years ago when no other NBA team was calling.

Pete Carril, 87, the legendary Princeton coach who guided that trio in the early 80s, believes his former players will make a decision for the sake of success, not because of a connection.

“Dave and Craig and Stevie were definitely close and I’m sure they’re giving (Blatt) every consideration. But in the end, their judgement will be on how well he’ll do,” Carril told the Daily News. “Stevie’s on the spot and Craig is on the spot — but how can you hire your best friend if you’re not sure if he can succeed or not?

“They have a tough decision to make.”

Blatt is scheduled to meet with the Knicks over the next week, making the trek from Europe, where he became just the second coach ever to win the Eurobasket, Euroleague and Eurocup titles.

David Blatt has some serious Princeton connections.

David Blatt has some serious Princeton connections.

(Nam Y. Huh/AP)

He would be Mills’ choice, not Scott Perry’s. According to a source close to the GM, Perry is not nearly as keen on Blatt. A possibility would be Blatt taking a position as an assistant or in the front office.

But Blatt indicated he’ll only leave Europe to be a head coach.

“The end game has not changed,” Blatt told The Jerusalem Post recently. “I want people to know that my decision last year was based on this exact scenario. That at the end of this season there would be NBA openings, that is now the case, and that I would try to see if I can get back into the league. If it happens, then I will be very happy and if it doesn’t happen then I’ll return to the European option.”

Hanging over Blatt’s candidacy is his 1 1/2-season stint with the Cavaliers that ended because, among other reasons, he had very little respect from LeBron James.

Carril, who also spent several years as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings, acknowledged that Blatt might have issues connecting with NBA players. That would contradict one of the front office’s stated priorities for a new coach: that he or she must “understand” the modern player.

Exported.;

Pete Carril, 87, the legendary Princeton coach who guided Steve Mills, Craig Robinson and David Blatt in the early 80s, believes his former players will make a decision for the sake of the Knicks’ success.

(Stava, Susan)

“That definitely has to be a possibility,” Carril said of Blatt not meshing with NBA players. “In Europe those coaches have a lot more say in what the heck goes on.

“And I was told when I went to the pros that it’s a player’s league. And it didn’t take me long to find that out.”

Blatt was hired in Cleveland in 2014 for a rebuild, but then the Cavs acquired LeBron and the entire direction flipped. Blatt went to the Finals during his first year, but was also openly disregarded by James and disparaged by anonymous Cavs sources through the media. After starting 20-20 the following season, Blatt was canned.

Carril said he refrained from contacting Blatt because, “I’ve been afraid to. I didn’t want that to happen to him. I saw how he was struggling, I didn’t like that.

“Dave has had a tremendous record in Europe and he actually did well in Cleveland. But when you’re from Princeton, you have to prove yourself a lot,” Carril said. “I think Bill Bradley faced that when he first got (to the NBA in 1967).

“He came and started for the Knicks and it was tough for him to get started because there isn’t a very high regard for Ivy League graduates going into the pros. And so you have to work hard on everything you do to prove you know what you’re talking about. Dave had that problem in Cleveland, I’m sure.”

Carril is most famous for being the architect of the Princeton offense, designed to give his team a chance despite being outclassed in nearly every out of conference matchup. The idea was to kill the clock and wear down the defense with screening, passing and backdoor cuts. In 1981, Mills (a senior), Blatt (senior) and Robinson (sophomore) took the Tigers to an 18-11 record and a first-round defeat in the NCAA tournament to BYU (led by current Celtics GM Danny Ainge).

Carril brought the offense successfully to the NBA with the Kings in the early 2000s, and Blatt has said his coaching style is influenced by what he played at Princeton. But Carril told the News the offense “is obsolete for the game today.”

“If Dave asks me, I’ll tell him to forget (the Princeton offense),” Carril added.

That’s certainly a different approach than what Phil Jackson took with his beloved triangle.

“He believed in that. I believed in what I did too as it applied to what I did at Princeton at that time. But the game has changed significantly,” Carril said.

Blatt’s interview will follow Jerry Stackhouse’s, Mike Woodson’s, Mark Jackson’s and likely David Fizdale’s. He wouldn’t be the popular choice among fans, but he carries a resume of winning at each of his coaching stops — including under difficult circumstances in Cleveland.

And Blatt also has that Princeton connection.

“He understands that he can’t coach or play the way he did at Princeton. The shooting is quick, a lot of teams are playing without a center. The 3-point shot has become especially important. It seems as though if you can’t make 3s you’re not going to win. So he has all that to overcome,” Carril said. “But I think what he has is the experience to show that he can coach in the pros. And that’s up to Steve to decide. Because their decisions are important for their welfare. So once money becomes a factor in your life then whatever friendships you have deteriorates somewhat. And so what you’re doing is relying on the fact that he’s going to succeed. Now they have a major rebuilding job there right now, the Knicks, but Dave knows the game and maybe that’s what they need is a teacher more than a promoter. So it’s a risky business, to say the least.” 

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Pete Carril talks David Blatt, Steve Mills reuniting in New York

Pete Carril talks David Blatt, Steve Mills reuniting in New York

It’s an open secret that David Blatt’s spot among the top Knicks coaching candidates is about who he knows.

That’s not meant to be a knock on Blatt’s credentials — which are vast and impressive — but being the former college teammate of an NBA team president, especially when they went to Princeton, has its perks. Steve Mills already hired one of his former Princeton teammates to run player development in New York — Craig Robinson — and Blatt was given consideration by the Knicks two years ago when no other NBA team was calling.

Pete Carril, 87, the legendary Princeton coach who guided that trio in the early 80s, believes his former players will make a decision for the sake of success, not because of a connection.

“Dave and Craig and Stevie were definitely close, and I’m sure they’re giving (Blatt) every consideration. But in the end, their judgement will be on how well he’ll do,” Carril told the Daily News. “Stevie’s on the spot and Craig is on the spot — but how can you hire your best friend if you’re not sure if he can succeed or not?

“They have a tough decision to make.”

Blatt is scheduled to meet with the Knicks over the next week, making the trek from Europe where he became just the second coach ever to win the Eurobasket, Euroleague and Eurocup titles.

He would be Mills’ choice, not Scott Perry’s. According to a source close to the GM, Perry is not nearly as keen on Blatt. A possibility would be Blatt taking a position as an assistant or in the front office, much like Phil Jackson did with Kurt Rambis.

David Blatt's connection to Steve Mills has him a favorite for the Knicks' head coaching job.

David Blatt’s connection to Steve Mills has him a favorite for the Knicks’ head coaching job.

(Matt Slocum/AP)

But Blatt indicated that he’ll only leave Europe to be a head coach.

“The end game has not changed,” Blatt told The Jerusalem Post recently. “I want people to know that my decision last year was based on this exact scenario. That at the end of this season there would be NBA openings, that is now the case, and that I would try to see if I can get back into the league. If it happens, then I will be very happy, and if it doesn’t happen then I’ll return to the European option.”

Hanging over Blatt’s candidacy is his 1 1/2-season stint with the Cavaliers that ended because, among other reasons, he had very little respect from LeBron James.

Carril, who also spent several years as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings, acknowledged that Blatt might have issues connecting with NBA players. That would contradict one of the front office’s stated priorities for a new coach: that he or she must “understand” the modern player.

“That definitely has to be a possibility,” Carril said of Blatt not meshing with NBA players. “In Europe those coaches have a lot more say in what the heck goes on.

“And I was told when I went to the pros that it’s a player’s league. And it didn’t take me long to find that out.”

Steve Mills could lean toward hiring his friend and former teammate.

Steve Mills could lean toward hiring his friend and former teammate.

(Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Blatt was hired in Cleveland in 2014 for a rebuild, but then the Cavs acquired LeBron and the entire direction flipped. Blatt went to the Finals during his first year, but was also openly disregarded by James and disparaged by anonymous Cavs sources through the media. After starting 20-20 the following season, Blatt was canned.

Carril said he refrained from contacting Blatt because, “I’ve been afraid to. I didn’t want that to happen to him. I saw how he was struggling, I didn’t like that.

“Dave has had a tremendous record in Europe and he actually did well in Cleveland. But when you’re from Princeton, you have to prove yourself a lot,” Carril said. “I think Bill Bradley faced that when he first got (to the NBA in 1967).

“He came and started for the Knicks and it was tough for him to get started because there isn’t a very high regard for Ivy League graduates going into the pros. And so you have to work hard on everything you do to prove you know what you’re talking about. Dave had that problem in Cleveland, I’m sure.”

Carril is most famous for being the architect of the Princeton offense, designed to give his team a chance despite being outclassed in nearly every out-of-conference matchup. The idea was to kill the clock and wear down the defense with screening, passing and backdoor cuts. In 1981, Mills (a senior), Blatt (senior) and Robinson (sophomore) took the Tigers to an 18-11 record and a first-round defeat in the NCAA tournament to BYU (led by current Celtics GM Danny Ainge).

Carril brought the offense successfully to the NBA with the Kings in the early 2000s, and Blatt has said his coaching style is influenced by what he played in Princeton. But Carril told the News the offense “is obsolete for the game today.” He reasoned that the NBA is now about playing fast, 3-pointers and pick-and-rolls.

Exported.;

Pete Carril coached Steve Mills and David Blatt at Princeton.

(Stava, Susan)

“If Dave asks me, I’ll tell him to forget (the Princeton offense),” Carril added.

That’s certainly a different approach than what Phil Jackson took with his beloved triangle.

“He believed in that. I believed in what I did too as it applied to what I did at Princeton at that time. But the game has changed significantly,” Carril said.

Blatt’s interview will follow Jerry Stackhouse’s, Mike Woodson’s, Mark Jackson’s and likely David Fizdale’s. He wouldn’t be the popular choice among fans, but he carries a resume of winning at each of his coaching stops — including under difficult circumstances in Cleveland.

And Blatt also has that Princeton connection.

“He understands that he can’t coach or play the way he did at Princeton. The shooting is quick, a lot of teams are playing without a center. The 3-point shot has become especially important. It seems as though if you can’t make 3s, you’re not going to win. So he has all that to overcome,” Carril said. “But I think what he has is the experience to show that he can coach in the pros. And that’s up to Steve to decide. Because their decisions are important for their welfare. So once money becomes a factor in your life then whatever friendships you have deteriorates somewhat.

“And so what you’re doing is relying on the fact that he’s going to succeed. Now they have a major rebuilding job there right now, the Knicks, but Dave knows the game and maybe that’s what they need is a teacher more than a promoter. So it’s a risky business, to say the least.”

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Knicks must decide if they can ignore Mark Jackson's past drama

Knicks must decide if they can ignore Mark Jackson's past drama

Mark Jackson’s tenure in Golden State is viewed through two very different lenses: either he’s the coach who set up the Warriors for their dynasty, or he was the only thing holding it back.

It’s a hypothetical debate that will never have a concrete answer, but also something the Knicks have to explore as they interview Jackson on Wednesday for their coaching position.

Here’s a timeline of Jackson’s drama-filled three seasons in Golden State, as told over the ensuing years by those involved and with relevant facts:

— With no coaching experience, Jackson left his TV gig in 2011 to take over the Warriors, a franchise coming off three consecutive losing seasons with just one playoff series victory in 20 years. Steph Curry was their promising star, but the roster was otherwise inadequate. By Jackson’s third season, during which the Warriors won over 50 games for the first time since 1994 — they had added Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and were unquestionably on the rise. But there were also bubbling issues behind the scenes.

Isiah Thomas was instrumental in getting Carmelo to Knicks: book

— In the final weeks of his final season, Jackson demoted one of his assistant coaches, Brian Scalabrine, to coaching the D-League for his “disrespect,” and fired another, Darren Erman, for allegedly secretly recording conversations with Jackson. “The one that was demoted [Scalabrine], I would have had handled it six weeks, a month, two months earlier,” Jacksons told Sirius XM Radio soon after he was fired. “The things that took place from his side, I would have nipped it in the bud initially. That’s my fault for allowing it to go on. I’m pretty much a guy, just like ministry, I try to show you a different way of handling it. …I would do that differently (with Scalabrine). As far as assistants, you have to pick people who are loyal and dedicated. It’s inexcusable what the second assistant [Erman] did. That cannot be tolerated. For folks to say, two situations, it’s obviously documented that they both were 100 percent wrong. The only fault I got is hiring those guys. I would use wisdom in who is around me.”

A MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2014, FILE PHOTO

Mark Jackson didn’t end on great terms with the Warriors, but he built the foundation of a team that went on to win two NBA titles.

(Chris Carlson/AP)

— Erman, who never publicly spoke on the subject, reportedly had design of undermining Jackson to management. Erman resurfaced in the Celtics organization. Scalabrine, in a podcast with Yahoo! two years ago, described the atmosphere under Jackson as dysfunctional. He also said his demotion stemmed from a disagreement in a coaches meeting after a loss to the Spurs.

“It was like a bombardment of (Jackson) trying to like get everyone to say that I’m a bad guy, and I’m a bad coach, and I should be off the staff,” Scalabrine said on the podcast. “I’m not sure what the point of it is, but just imagine after an emotional loss to the Spurs, and he goes to every coach and says, ‘Should Scalabrine be here? Is he a bad guy? Is he disrespectful?’ Or whatever he said. And what is an (assistant) coach going to do? You’re like some low-level coach, and Mark is your boss, and is Scalabrine disrespectful? Of course you’re going to say ‘yes.’ So every person was like ‘yeah.’ So then he brought in management and did the same thing. So we have a meeting where it’s me versus coaches and management. We’re talking about (GM Bob Myers) and the assistant GM and the owner’s son (Kirk Lacob). And my whole thing was like, ‘I think there’s a time and place for this, right? Can’t we do this in a different time?'”

Scalabrine never returned to coaching.

Fizdale, Jackson and Stackhouse top candidates for Knicks job

— Two days after the Warriors lost in the first round of the playoffs, Jackson was fired. Owner Joe Lacob later justified it by claiming Jackson was widely disliked: “Part of it was that he couldn’t get along with anybody else in the organization,” Lacob said at a luncheon with venture capitalists. “And look, he did a great job, and I’ll always compliment him in many respects, but you can’t have 200 people in the organization not like you.”

Steve Kerr may have taken Stephen Curry and the Warriors to the next level, but Kerr attributes his team's defensive success to Mark Jackson.

Steve Kerr may have taken Stephen Curry and the Warriors to the next level, but Kerr attributes his team’s defensive success to Mark Jackson.

(Nick Wass/AP)

— Steve Kerr became the replacement and the Warriors immediately won a championship, then posted the best record in NBA history, then won a second championship. Despite this giant leap after his dismissal, Jackson is credited with installing one of the top defenses in the NBA.

“I didn’t (make the defense great), Mark Jackson did,” Kerr said during last year’s Finals. “Honestly. When I was in TV, I was doing Warriors games for years; every year they were one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Mark came in and made a focus of being a tough defensive-minded team. …We already knew they had established that defensive identity. Our job was to improve the offense — to get more movement and more flow. And that was my focus.”

Jackson also had a strong relationship with Curry and was responsible for getting Andre Iguodala to the Warriors in 2013. Jackson never coached in the NBA before or after the Warriors — and Tuesday will be his first interview since getting fired.

Tags:
nba
new york knicks
golden state warriors
mark jackson

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Isiah Thomas was instrumental in getting Carmelo to Knicks: book

Isiah Thomas was instrumental in getting Carmelo to Knicks: book

The story is now seven years old, but trading for Carmelo Anthony was arguably the most significant move in the last 20 years for the Knicks.

And it seems Isiah Thomas was behind it.

In an excerpt from his book titled “The Soul of Basketball,” author Ian Thomsen tells the story of how he called Thomas, who at that time was coaching Florida International and was three years removed from being fired by the Knicks, to provide an update on the trade talks.

As Thomsen noted, the Knicks and Nets were in a bidding war for Anthony. The only thing holding the Knicks back from winning this war — and as sources familiar with the negotiations confirmed — was Donnie Walsh’s reluctance to include Timofey Mozgov in the deal.

Carmelo Anthony happy to be back in the playoffs, not on vacation

That’s when Thomsen reached out to Thomas, who is good friends with owner James Dolan.

“Thomas and I had been sharing information for years, he had provided me with insight on the new generation of AAU players who were seizing control of the NBA, and I believed he would be interested in hearing about Anthony,” wrote Thomsen. “But Thomas was gunshy. It had been three years since his departure from the Knicks and he was still being criticized in New York as if he had never left. He said he didn’t know (former Nuggets exec Masai) Ujiri, and the last thing he needed was to have it leaked that he was involved in the talks for Anthony. He made it clear that he no longer had authority within the Knicks organization, which meant he had everything to lose and nothing to gain. Thomas could see how this would play out: The trade with the Knicks would collapse, word would get out of his involvement and he would be the scapegoat. ‘I don’t want anything to do with it,’ he said.

“I explained why I had assumed that he would be interested in hearing about the negotiations. Anthony had stuck out his neck to force a trade to New York, and if the trade was doomed to fall apart because the Knicks weren’t willing to include a back-end player like Mozgov, then it wouldn’t only be Anthony who would be furious. Anthony’s fellow NBA stars — his close friends — would be angry with the Knicks too, and it would become more difficult than ever for the Knicks to recruit another star in years to come. The future of the Knicks mattered not at all to me, but I figured it would be important to Thomas. He said he agreed with my point of view, as I knew he would, since he had helped me to understand this dynamic over several years of conversations.

Not Released (NR)

The author of a new book says he reached out to Isiah Thomas (right), who influenced the Knicks’ decision to acquire Carmelo Anthony (left).

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“Thomas thanked me for the call and then insisted that he was going to keep out of it. His goal was to get on with his own life. If the Knicks were going to make the trade, then let them figure it out.”

Carmelo Anthony helped bus kids to March for Our Lives rally

But Thomas did not stay out of it.

“My phone buzzed with the call from Isiah Thomas. ‘Well, I passed on the information,’ he said, without saying to whom it had been passed. ‘Now we’ll see what happens.’ The next morning, the news broke that Timofey Mozgov had been included in the Knicks’ offer to Denver. That night the trade was completed.”

The implication is that Thomas passed the information to Dolan, who, as the Daily News reported at the time, went over Walsh’s head to complete the trade. The results of that deal can be debated forever. The Knicks advanced to the postseason for three consecutive years, highlighted by their division title in 2013. But then the franchise spiraled into calamity with Anthony as a main culprit.

The Nuggets never really capitalized on their return (Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a 2014 first-round pick).

LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony call NCAA ‘corrupt’ amid FBI probe

Either way, this story is proof Isiah was involved with the Knicks long after he was fired.

Tags:
nba
new york knicks
carmelo anthony
isiah thomas
books

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