Before the New York Knicks settled upon their next head coach, a number of candidates remained in the mix throughout the process.
Per NBC Sports Chicago's Vincent Goodwill, both David Blatt and Mark Jackson were "still firmly in the running" for the position along with Fizdale as of Thursday afternoon. Goodwill's report came one day after Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania reported Fizdale had "gained serious traction" for the job.
Both Blatt and Jackson have had a variety of success in their respective careers.
Blatt compiled an 83-40 in his one-plus season as the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-16, going 14-6 during the postseason with an NBA Finals appearance. He was hired weeks before LeBron James returned to the franchise, and with that, the expectations changed dramatically. Blatt went from trying to develop a young Cavs team led by Kyrie Irving to trying to win a championship with James back home.
Though the Cavaliers had the best record in the Eastern Conference at the time, Blatt was fired in the middle of the 2015-16 season. The team went on to win its first-ever championship that season under Tyronn Lue. The 58-year-old coach—who has been with Turkish club Darussafaka since 2016—made it clear, via Irad Tsafrir of Haaretz.com, that he has unfinished business in the NBA:
"I was in the NBA Finals. I even have a [championship] ring, even though I wasn't there in real time. I'm not lacking anything. What I am lacking is just personal satisfaction, realizing my potential and that of my players to the fullest. I want to try to return to the NBA, because I feel like I hadn't realized my potential there. But even if it doesn't happen, I will return to help my teams realize their potential, even if it's the EuroLeague. Okay? That's about it for me, man."
As for Jackson, he too was let go just before his team reached the promised land. Jackson helped guide a young Golden State Warriors team from 23 wins all the way up to 51 during his three years with the team. However, after a first-round exit in 2013-14, the organization decided it needed to make a change to maximize the potential of its roster.
Golden State has since made three straight NBA Finals appearances under Steve Kerr, winning two championships and setting an NBA record with 73 regular-season wins in the other.
Jackson, now an ESPN broadcaster, has not coached since.
Fizdale ultimately got the job, but Jackson and Blatt both had resumes that kept them in the running until the end.