New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale sat down with a few of his front office mates on Thursday to discuss the team's plans for the coming season. One of the first topics, according to a report from ESPN's Ian Begley, was tanking.
The Knicks, who lost All-Star big man Kristaps Porzingis to an ACL injury in February, finished the 2017-18 regular season with a 29-53 overall record, which was good for an 11th-place finish in the Eastern Conference standings. There is certainly room for improvement, but the Knicks are a team that faced quite a bit of adversity.
Porzingis hasn't been cleared to play in the coming season. In fact, there is no set timetable for his return, according to a recent report from Yahoo! Sports' Chris Mannix.
So… would the Knicks consider “tanking” if Porzingis is ruled out this season? The answer seems to be a resounding “no.”
David Fizdale says the first thing Steve Mills and Scott Perry told him in his interview is that they will never tank a season.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 20, 2018
“Fiz,” as coach Fizdale is known, agreed to a four-year deal with New York in May after being fired by the Memphis Grizzlies. He's the Knicks' 11th coach since the 2001-02 season (fifth since the start of the 2010-11 season).
As for Porzingis' rehab, Fizdale and the Knicks are taking a cautious but involved approach. It seems the team wants to keep their star involved in communications as much as possible.
“We've talked about his rehab,” David Fizdale said. We've talked about how we want to play, our style of play,” Fizdale told SNY in July. “Talked a lot about the culture that we're building. We wanna make sure that he comes back strong and healthy (from his ACL surgery) and we don't want to rush it. We've had some really good conversations. We talked about the kids we drafted. I've tried to make sure that he's — we've been in communication on every decision that we've made.”
Whether or not Porzingis will play this season remains to be seen, but it's clear that Fizdale and the Knicks want no part in tanking.