A front-office shakeup in New York was inevitable the moment the Knicks fired head coach David Fizdale. Wholesale changes haven’t come quite yet, but the first domino has officially fallen. The Knicks have announced they have hired former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt as a basketball operations consultant.
Blatt had previously been the coach of Greek Power Olympiacos, but he mutually agreed to part ways with the team after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during the offseason. In addition to his tenure with the Cavaliers, he won the EuroLeague coaching an undermanned Maccabi Tel Aviv roster during the 2013-14 season. He is among the most successful coaches in international basketball history, but aside from his brief stint in Cleveland, has largely been unable to gain a foothold in the NBA.
With this Knicks position, that is changing, though it is unclear what exactly his role will be. Given his proximity to the team’s current power structure, this could be viewed in many ways as an audition for the head-coaching job in New York. He previously interviewed for the job in 2018, and the team’s younger roster would appear to be a better fit than Cleveland was considering the demands that come with coaching LeBron James.
But the wording of Charania’s report suggests that Blatt is not in this for a chance to coach the Knicks, as it states that “Blatt has retired from coaching after 26 professional seasons to take Knicks front-office position.”
What the front-office position will entail if coaching is off of the table remains to be seen. After all, neither president of basketball operations Steve Mills nor general manager Scott Perry is safe at the moment. It’s possible that Blatt is being brought in to evaluate their performance, or to work in tandem with the pair in rebuilding the Knicks. For now, the team is playing fairly well. It just scored 143 points in a blowout win over the Atlanta Hawks, and has generally played competitive basketball since Mike Miller took over for Fizdale.
But the Knicks remain far from the postseason, and nothing should be out of the question for them as they rebuild the organization moving forward. Blatt’s experience should prove valuable in helping the team reorient itself toward contention.