David Fizdale turned down Hawks, Hornets, Suns despite no assurances he would get New York job
David Fizdale turned down several head coaching offers from other NBA teams without having the assurance that the New York Knicks would hire him in 2018, a clear indication of how much he wanted the post atop The Big Apple. The Atlanta Hawks, the Charlotte Hornets, and the Phoenix Suns offered Fizdale their head coaching jobs, but he turned them all down hoping to be named the Knicks’ next head coach, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
Fizdale would soon sign a four-year, $22 million deal with the Knicks, one he kept for only 104 games after being fired last Friday. Meanwhile, the Hawks hired Lloyd Pierce, the Hornets gave their job to former San Antonio Spurs assistant James Borrego, and the Suns hired Igor Kokoskov, only to fire him after the 2018-19 season.
One could argue the Knicks was the worst out of all four jobs, but it was undoubtedly the most high-profile job available, and one that could help him land his next job. Furthermore, Fizdale is still owed two-and-a-half years’ worth of his services, with roughly $17 million of his original four-year, $22 million contract.
Fizdale’s first order of business was to establish a relationship with then-superstar Kristaps Porzingis, but he never got to coach him after he was traded at the 2019 deadline. Instead, the former longtime Miami Heat assistant and Memphis Grizzlies coach was mired to coach a young roster with no direction or semblance of structure — two things that spelled the end of his tenure rather quickly, much like the long line of coaches in New York since 2004.