Nell Redmond/Associated Press
How’s this for a sentimental favorite?
In the forty-plus years since New York’s lone title-winning teams, no player brought the Knicks closer to a third banner than Ewing, who currently serves as an assistant with the Charlotte Bobcats under head coach Steve Clifford.
Of all the candidates on this list, Ewing poses by far the biggest risk-reward: Failing in his first head-coaching stint—in the caustic cauldron of commentary that is New York, no less—would be disastrous for both sides.
On the other hand, Ewing’s unrivaled pedigree and presence could be just the kind of centering force the team needs.
From Dolan’s perspective, hiring Ewing would accomplish three, equally important things: mending fences with the Big Fella himself, providing some much-needed positive PR and giving the Knicks a coach who, like Carlesimo, will likely look to foster a system that best fits the personnel.
Whether hiring Ewing would result in a snowballing of sentiment and success or an unmitigated disaster, it’s impossible to say. But seldom does an opportunity arise that meets the criteria of sound public relations and a [possible] brilliant basketball move alike.
For a succinct summary of why the Knicks ought to take a flyer on their former cornerstone, you could do a lot worse than this paragraph, from a column written by the New York Daily News' Mike Vaccaro last June:
All due respect to Clifford, who did win 86 games as a head coach at Adelphi 15 years ago, but if Jordan were going to take a flier, he couldn’t have done it with one of the greatest players of all time? Maybe it would be a fiasco. Maybe Patrick isn’t cut out for the job. It sure would be nice to find out one way or another.