Knicks Rumors: Bulls' Chris Fleming to Interview for NY's Head Coach Job

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2020

CHICAGO, IL -  NOVEMBER 16: Coby White #0 talks with assistant coach Chris Fleming of the Chicago Bulls before the game on November 16, 2019 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The New York Knicks are planning to interview Chicago Bulls lead assistant Chris Fleming as part of their head coaching search, according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes

Fleming joined the Bulls for the 2019-20 season after spending three years with the Brooklyn Nets. He began his NBA coaching career as an assistant for the Denver Nuggets in 2015-16.

The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov reported in June that Fleming was on the Knicks' list of interviewees. Ian Begley of SNY reported the team was expected to look at around eight to 10 candidates as it seeks a permanent replacement for David Fizdale.

A native of New jersey, Fleming played professionally for QTSV/Artland Dragons in Germany for six seasons. He then coached the team for eight years, collecting four Basketball Bundesliga titles.

In March 2017, ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz listed Fleming as one of his top NBA assistants to watch in terms of head coaching potential:

"Three smart front-office folks who keep stock of the NBA's coaching ranks named Fleming one of their favorite below-the-radar prospects. They see a guy who carved out a unique path overseas. They see a grinder in a cutthroat job that requires superb communications skills and an appreciation for players of vastly different backgrounds, ages and pedigrees. Fleming is regarded as terrific with people, but he's no softie, either—his personality profile is similar to that of his boss in Brooklyn."

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Haynes also called Fleming an "innovative offensive architect."

The Bulls sit 29th in offensive rating (105.8), per NBA.com, but holding that against Fleming would be somewhat unfair. The roster is still young and developing, and head coach Jim Boylen deserves his fair share of the blame for the team's struggles on that end.

The logic behind the Knicks' interest in Fleming is obvious.

They could target a proven head coach with a wealth of experience and a successful track record. Tom Thibodeau would fit into that category.

With a lengthy rebuild likely ahead, however, hiring somebody who can develop younger players makes far more sense. Kenny Atkinson got kicked to the curb in March, but his work in improving the Brooklyn Nets' unheralded roster was instrumental in the team reaching the 2019 playoffs and helping the Nets land Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in free agency shortly after.

Whether Fleming is the choice or not, that is arguably the Knicks' best path going forward.