Knicks rumors: The successful coach New York almost hired instead of David Fizdale in 2018
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Rumor: The successful coach the Knicks almost hired instead of David Fizdale in 2018

James Dolan, David Fizdale, Knicks

In 2018, the New York Knicks hired David Fizdale as the team’s new head coach in the hopes that he would be the right man to resurrect the team from what had been an awful past few years for the franchise. While that did not exactly work out, it’s interesting to learn there was a highly successful coach very close to getting hired instead of Fizdale.

Ian Begley of SNY notes that Milwaukee Bucks Mike Budenholzer was one of the front-runners before New York finally decided on Fizdale:

The Knicks also reached an advanced state of negotiations with Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer before hiring David Fizdale.

Discussions between the Knicks and Budenholzer in the 2018 offseason advanced to a point where some people who would have come with Budenholzer to New York were talking about places to live in the city because they felt Budenholzer was close to taking the job, per SNY sources.

What could have been. Budenholzer enjoyed a good amount of success with the Atlanta Hawks prior to an ugly 2017-18 campaign that resulted in his departure, and he went on to have a much better record with the Bucks as compared to Fizdale’s tenure with the Knicks. Then again, New York does not have one Giannis Antetokounmpo, so we can only wonder at this point if Budenholzer would have done a better job in New York as opposed to Fizdale given the lack of talent within the squad.

As it turns out, however, Budenholzer himself was actually on board with signing with the Knicks:

One official from an opposing team involved in searches at the time confirmed that coaching the Knicks intrigued Budenholzer. “Bud was definitely interested,” the team official said recently.

For some reason, the Knicks decided to take a gamble on Fizdale — one that did not turn out to be a very wise one, in hindsight.