A Coach Awaits...
Counting down the hours until New York makes its pick.
In addition to a run down of the weekend’s news, in today’s newsletter I’m announcing a special chance for my readers to appear on the KFS Podcast (with a catch, of course…check out the bottom of the letter for more info). As for the Knicks, there aren’t really any hot topics of the moment as we begin what will likely be the last week New York is sans coach.
With that in mind, let’s bounce around…
Jalen Rose does an about face
You probably already caught the quote over the weekend that Jalen Rose gave to the NY Post’s Marc Berman:
As with anything any ESPN talking head says concerning the Knicks (or, well…anything at all), take this one with a grain of salt.
That said, you’ll excuse me if I once again pull out my soapbox here: positive press about the franchise, BS or otherwise, can only help.
It’s not that Jalen is necessarily wrong. I’m sure some folks in the league will care that New York has a front office in which William Wesley, Scott Perry, Allan Houston and Walt Perin (or Steve Stoute? It’s not clear which four he was talking about here) all play prominent roles.
But Perry, Houston and Steve Mills were all there last summer, while Sean Marks is as white as the driven snow and that dichotomy sure didn’t seem to matter. Jerry West could be green with orange polka dots and Kawhi Leonard wouldn’t have given a shit. Having Black front office members is important for all kinds of reasons that are bigger than basketball, but in terms of attracting talent, it doesn’t matter unless people starts to say it matters.
Rose’s comments come after he’s had some recent harsh words for James Dolan a few times, including last month over the lack of a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. To have him back saying nice things may seem meaningless, but perception is everything, and players pay attention to this stuff for better or worse.
It can’t hurt.
Thibs’ wandering eyes?
I doubt it.
Steve Popper in his Sunday column for Newsday raised the possibility that Tom Thibodeau might want to wait and see if other jobs open up - he named the Rockets and Sixers as possibilities - before accepting the Knicks job. He also made clear that all signs still pointed to Thibs being the favorite to get the position.
I don’t doubt Steve’s reporting for a second, but count me as surprised if Thibs actually pulled a “thanks, but no thanks (for now).”
For one, even if Mike D’Antoni does get fired - seemingly the worst kept secret in the NBA - he, and not Thibs, would figure to make more sense for the Sixers job should that open up. After all, D’Antoni spent much of the 2015-16 season serving as associate head coach under Brett Brown, and he’s the sort of offensive mind that you’d think those owners would feel comfortable entrusting the Embiid/Simmons combo to.
That would leave the Rockets and Bulls (where Jim Boylen is, somehow, still employed) as the other possible openings. It would seem that a return to Chicago after what transpired there is unlikely for their former head coach.
As for Houston, Thibs does have familiarity - he was an assistant under Jeff Van Gundy from 2003 to 2007 - but Tillman Fertitta seems to embody a level of abhorrence as an owner that makes Dolan look downright docile. If nothing else, ole’ JD generally treats his high ranking people like gold - something Thibs knows about firsthand.
And even if he wanted to take a chance that Harden and Russ could help him get to the promised land (and vice versa), he’s no shoe in there either. Kenny Atkinson would seem to a logical fit with their style of play, and you never know what other candidate emerges out of the woodwork.
My guess is that if Thibs gets offered the Knicks job, he’ll take it, and this latest rumor will only help to secure him a longer/richer deal.
Last bit of news came at the end of a Berman Q&A, in which he noted that because Damyean Dotson isn’t under contract next year and has no ties to the current Knicks regime, he was “as good as gone.”
Like with Popper, I don’t for a second discount the accuracy of Marc’s intel here (and for evidence that he’s spot on, look no further than Dotson’s 58 total minutes over New York’s final 15 games). I just hope he’s wrong.
Even putting aside the fact that Dot’s qualifying offer is only $2 million, the concept of getting rid of a guy just because you didn’t draft him is obviously ridiculous, and I don’t think that would be the only reason they moved on.
But whereas holding onto Knox or Frank in part because of their pedigree makes some sense, jettisoning Dotson because he was only a second round pick makes none. Remember this is the same guy who averaged 16.6 points, 4.1 boards and 2.7 assists over a 14-game stretch after the 2019 All-Star break. He hit 42.4 percent of his 7.1 3-point attempts per game during that span as well, proving that if given the opportunity, he can produce. That player didn’t just disappear (unless you count the end of New York’s bench as the netherworld), and is worth at least his qualifying offer.
When I spoke to Aaron Miller, who’s been working with Dot all summer in Houston, he was adamant about the work Dotson was putting in on a daily basis. It shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Here’s hoping we get to see that work pay off at MSG next season.
First and foremost, new KFS pod to start your week…
…and two other pieces from the end of last week that you may have missed:
The Decision, the Ripple Effects it Caused, and Those Still to Come: This was a labor of love for me, and forced me to grapple with some tough questions on the state of media and how it has changed over the last 10 years.
Most Memorable Knicks Free Agent Moment: Tim Hardaway Jr. Gets the Bag: Because masochism is lovely in mid-July.
Do You Want To Appear On The KFS Podcast?
For a while now, I’ve been thinking about a way to use the platform I have with KFS to do something tangible that would help make the world a little bit more like the one I want to live in, and more important, that my daughter will grow up in.
Like a lot of other content creators and media personalities, I was vocal on Twitter and occasionally in this space when it came to the Black Lives Matter movement in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. And now, a mere seven weeks after that occurrence, so many people have mentally moved on.
That’s kind of what I expected. Coronavirus is rampaging through much of the country, once again taking over the news cycle, and with that, our collective attention. Next it will be sports, and while the names on the backs of a few players’ jerseys will draw momentary attention, we (and yes, I include myself in this group) will quickly turn our focus to the games. Then there’s an election, and after that there will be something else, and then something else, and so on and so forth.
I get it. And while there’s no use fighting the inevitable, I do believe the moment we are in cannot simply pass us by. Too many people are impacted by the ills that still plague our country for that to be the case.
Today marks four months since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by cops in her own home, and as the investigation maddeningly moves along at a snail’s pace, no arrests have been made. If there was ever a reminder that more work needs to be done, it is this. Real change still eludes us.
As such, I’m going to try something out: I’m giving anyone who wants one a chance to appear as a guest on the Knicks Film School Podcast, and in exchange for a 5-minute spot on the show, I’m asking for a donation to support a worthy cause. Some specifics:
How Much? I think it would be great to raise at least $500, so I’m thinking $30 for a 5 minute spot. If I can get 17 people, that’s $510. Of course, the more (in dollars or participants), the merrier.
When? Thinking of trying for an upcoming weekend, with some flexibility to accomodate people’s schedules.
How? Once your donation clears, I’d give you a call in number and a time slot, and away we go.
Who? What, I’m not enough?!? (Kidding)…Spencer Pearlman has already agreed to come on to answer any draft questions you might have, but you could also just talk to me, or say your piece and then peace out. The time is yours.
Most importantly, where’s the money going?
I’ve thought about this a lot, and while there are so many organizations doing fantastic work, the one I picked is Higher Heights for America, a national organization that aims to expand both Black women’s elected representation and voting participation.
Why Higher Heights? Simple: I will always believe change happens through law, and diversifying those who make those laws is the first step to progress. Did you know: this country has never had a Black woman elected governor? Sad but true. And this one: Black women make up under four percent of all elected officials despite being nearly twice as represented in the population? Why is that? Regardless of your answer, hopefully you agree with me that it needs to change, and that’s exactly what Higher Heights is trying to do.
That said, if there is a particular organization you are passionate about supporting, let me know and I’ll of course hear you out.
Now for the important part: if you’re interested, either send me an email to KFSMailbag@gmail.com, or if you prefer, message me on Twitter. Whatever’s easier.
I can only make this happen with your support, and hopefully there are enough of you out there who want to join me.
That’s it for today! See you later this week, maybe with a new coaching hire! #BlackLivesMatter