"LeBron and D-Wade having been talking to our young guys," Fizdale said.
Those young players—namely Mitchell Robinson, Dennis Smith Jr. and Kevin Knox—are a big part of New York's rebuilding plans going forward. But the Knicks are also intending on being major players this summer, with players like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and Tobias Harris, among others, expected to hit free agency.
And Fizdale believes the Knicks have a lot to offer those players when they make their free-agency pitch:
"[We're having] a lot of conversations, a lot of angles that we're trying to make sure that we show guys when they come in. I think we've got a lot of positive things to show. Scott Perry and Steve Mills have done a heck of a job laying this thing out. We've got the most cap space. We have seven picks over five years, which means whoever we do get, we can continue to build around them, and I think that's a great position to be in. We did all that in a course of a year and we laid down our culture, so I'm really excited about where we're at."
The first piece of the puzzle will be the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday, May 14. The Knicks hold a 14 percent chance to win the top overall pick, ostensibly for the right to draft Duke superstar Zion Williamson. That would leave the Knicks with a fascinating choice—keep the pick and build around the young star, or perhaps dangle it in a trade to land an established player like Anthony Davis?
Davis would be the bigger draw for players like Durant and Irving, and that trio would be a terrifying combination. But Williamson would be one heck of a backup plan in the event the Knicks don't hit it big in free agency.
After all, a number of teams—most notably the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers—will all be gunning for some of the free agents. And given the Knicks' lack of success in recent years and the organizational dysfunction that has accompanied those struggles, it wouldn't be shocking if the Knicks missed out on the big names.
But in Williamson—or whomever they end up drafting—Smith, Robinson and Knox, the team would have an interesting young core. And whether or not the Knicks land a big free agent this summer, Fizdale is up for the challenge of building a contender in New York.
"The one reason I wanted to go to the New York Knicks is because it's the New York Knicks," he said. "I liked that expectation. I wanted to be somewhere where people wanted to win and expected to win."
"I think that we want the type of people that embrace those situations," he added. "So I think going into free agency, like I said, we've got a lot of good things that we can show and how this is going to be a different deal going forward with the Knicks. I think we're going to end up doing some good things."