It could be too soon to start thinking about next year for the Knicks—after all, they haven't clinched a spot in this year's postseason quite yet—but already, there's an appealing option on the market for New York.
On ESPN Wednesday night, Knicks legend Patrick Ewing said he's open to the idea of taking the reins as head coach in 2012-13.
During the Knicks' 108-86 win over Orlando on Wednesday night, Ewing told ESPN:
I'd be interested in any job, but this is home, naturally. I still have my place here [in New Jersey], and I'd love to interview for any job, here or anywhere. I played here. I know the ins and outs of New York, the media, the fans.
Ewing is currently an assistant coach in Orlando and has spent eight years total as an assistant in the NBA, which he seems to believe is more than enough time to develop into a suitable head coaching candidate.
The position could be open if the Knicks decide against retaining Mike Woodson at the end of the season. Woodson took over for Mike D'Antoni as interim coach after D'Antoni resigned in mid-March.
Since Woodson took over, the Knicks have gone 8-1, erasing the sting of a six-game losing streak that ended D'Antoni's tenure. Though Ewing was quick to admit that Woodson is doing "an outstanding job," he feels like he's ready for prime time.
Ewing served as an assistant coach in Washington (2003-04) and in Houston (2004-06) before joining Orlando in 2007. In 2010-11, Ewing helped develop a Magic team that finished 52-30 and registered 50 or more wins for the fourth straight season—a franchise record.
"I've put in the work," he said on ESPN. "I've learned from a lot of very good coaches…and I've played for a lot of great coaches. All I need is an opportunity, and once I get that opportunity, hopefully I'll be successful."
Ewing would give the Knicks a high-profile hire who would please the effusive New York fanbase while giving the team a front man who is seasoned in the art of dealing with a somewhat rabid media.
Though it's not a foolproof recipe for success, there's something to be said for hiring a big name with serious NBA credibility to energize a team that has been starved for a championship for decades.
And though he bristles at being called a "big man's coach," Ewing could certainly bring out the best in Carmelo Anthony, who occasionally clashed with D'Antoni. It will be hard for Anthony to clash with the Hall of Famer, and gleaning the best from Anthony will be the key to helping the Knicks solidify themselves as a powerhouse atop the Eastern Conference.
Ewing could offer the kind of leadership the Knicks need to win their first NBA title since 1973, and unless Woodson beats him to the punch this season, he might just get the chance.
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