Susan Ragan/Associated Press
Of course, these are the names that have Knicks fans clamoring.
Mark Jackson became a rumored candidate for the Knicks the moment he was fired by the Golden State Warriors earlier in May. And though he has no past relationship with Phil Jackson, ESPN New York has reported that the conversation between Jacksons may indeed take place.
Jackson was fired following the Warriors' playoff ouster, reportedly due to various clashes with ownership. In three seasons as the Dubs' head coach, he accumulated a record of 121-109.
Jackson played in 500 games for the Knicks over the course of seven campaigns, and he is their franchise leader in assists per game. He was mentioned for the team's open position in 2008, when he had no prior coaching experience, but the team instead opted to tab Mike D'Antoni as coach.
With Golden State, Jackson displayed pristine motivational skills and proved to be a capable leader of men. Various players opined following the season, prior to his firing, that Jackson deserved to keep his job. However, those who witnessed Golden State's unimaginative offense flounder at various points throughout the year would disagree.
Even though it's not what several fans want to hear, there are surely candidates more viable than Mark Jackson, and it's hardly because he's lacking a Phil-infused past.
The same can be said about Patrick Ewing, who is Steve Clifford's lead assistant with the Charlotte Hornets.
The franchise's all-time leader in scoring, rebounding, steals, blocks and several other categories has been yearning for a head coaching position for years. Certainly, his name will come up before this search is concluded.
Ewing's most notable accomplishment on the bench came this past season, when he helped Charlotte big man Al Jefferson shake his reputation as a defensive liability, as noted by Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling. Big Al described those interactions last month:
There are always times that me and him are just sitting down and just talking. There's nothing that I run by him that he doesn't know. I just pick his brain because at the end of the day, that's something I can tell my grandkids—that I had conversations with Patrick Ewing.
With a lead assistant role, Ewing seems to be destined for a head coaching chance some time soon, but that chance doesn't seem to be coming this summer—at least not in New York. He has held positions with the Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Charlotte, but he has never sniffed a lead NBA role.
His closest call was in the summer of 2012 when he interviewed with Charlotte, but he wasn't a finalist for the position. He has served as a part-time analyst for the Knicks with MSG Network, where he displayed a good grasp on ideologies, but he was noticeably jittery and a bit uncomfortable while speaking—which may explain his various flunked interviews.
Ewing's turn might be coming, but this isn't it.