David Fizdale wanted to land in New York due to front office, Kristaps Porzingis
David Fizdale was among the hottest names in the coaching world as several teams looked for a new man at the helm following the 2017-18 season.
The former coach of the Memphis Grizzlies was offered the Phoenix Suns job, but turned it down, later opting to become the head coach of the New York Knicks, a decision that proved rather easy for him to make after the front office reported interest.
“I wasn’t just trying to get a job,” said Fizdale, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “I wasn’t hoping just to land back on it, I wanted to land back in a place where I felt like I could really do what I could do. After looking at everything and evaluating everything and after spending time with [Knicks general manager] Scott [Perry], [Knicks president] Steve [Mills], looking at the fact that they’ve got KP [Kristaps Porzingis] there. And it’s the Knicks. It’s just a hard thing to turn down.”
Porzingis surely makes a great building block, but the pressure in The Big Apple is also tenfold what it would be in Phoenix, who hasn’t put out a competitive team since Steve Nash left the franchise.
The 7-foot-3 unicorn is also coming off a torn ACL, and chances are he might not return in time for the start of the season, which could cost the Knicks several games to start the season with their star on the shelf.
Yet the new coach has put in the time to bond with his new star talent, bonding during the offseason before the real work takes place, putting this team together for the regular season.
“Yeah, we talked,” said Fizdale. “We WhatsApp all the time and check in on each other. And my wife and I are flying out in two weeks to go spend a week with him and his family.”
Porzingis has been rehabbing his injury and could return as some point before the end of the year, though other reports suggest the Knicks might keep him out for the season if he hasn’t shown enough progress to return.