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We’ve got answers to the hot-button questions following David Fizdale’s firing:
Q: Is this really Fizdale’s fault? Doesn’t he have a flawed roster?
A: It’s a combination of mediocre coaching and a roster no one in the league believed was playoff worthy. The timing is rough as Fizdale’s Knicks had just faced five straight teams with title-contending credentials (Philadelphia, Toronto, Boston, Milwaukee, Denver). The roster is flawed with no No. 1 option, as Julius Randle failed to fill that role. But management saw rookie RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox regressing instead of improving, and a second-to-last 3-point defense that made the same mistakes over and over.
Q: How safe are Steve Mills and Scott Perry?
Owner James Dolan has a strong bond with Mills, but he must see the plan not working, with the Kristaps Porzingis trade backfiring and their free agents not excelling. The pitch to Dolan now is their cap flexibility they can use on trades or free agents.
Top NBA coaches take digs at Knicks over Fizdale firing
Q: How soon now before the Knicks start unloading some of their veterans in trades?
A: This firing could be a give-up and a push to either trade some of the veterans at the deadline or just waive them to open roster spots for young guys such as G-Leaguer Kenny Wooten and two-way G-League player Ivan Rabb.
Q: Is there a chance interim coach Mike Miller could get the job long-term?
A: Miller was a proven winner on the G-League level and certainly if he gets this roster to close out in .500 range, he’ll be in consideration. Why wouldn’t he?
Q: Fizdale has now been fired twice in three years. Will he get another head-coaching job again?
A: Fizdale has lots of friends in the NBA and turned down the Atlanta and Phoenix jobs, but is getting the reputation he’s better off as an assistant coach. Fizdale might be best off at the college level with his charismatic personality put to use in recruiting.
Q: Does Fizdale’s firing benefit any player?
A: Maybe the new coach will find a better use of Knox and Allonzo Trier. Knox has been underutilized in the offense and Trier is just buried.