The New York Knicks are casting a wider net in the head coaching search with Ime Udoka and Pat Delany reportedly interviewing for the gig.
Despite reports of Tom Thibodeau leading the field in the New York Knicks‘ search for a head coach, president Leon Rose is still doing his due diligence. According to reports, the Knicks plan to interview Philadelphia 76ers assistant Ime Udoka and Orlando Magic assistant Pat Delany.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 17, 2020
Orlando Magic assistant Pat Delany will interview for the New York Knicks head coaching job, sources tell ESPN. Delany has been an assistant under Steve Clifford for five years after advancing within the Miami Heat organization. He spent a year as a G-League head coach with Heat.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 17, 2020
According to SNY’s Ian Begley, the Knicks expect to interview between eight and 10 candidates. Although Thibodeau and Atkinson still would seem like the most logical choices, this head coaching search is far from over.
Udoka, 42, is a former player turned assistant coach who has some previous ties to the organization. He had a short stint with the Knicks as a player in 2006 and was. possible choice to be a part of David Fizdale’s staff back in 2017, according to Al Iannozzone of Newsday.
Udoka spent seven seasons as an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs before heading to the Philadelphia 76ers for a season. He left San Antonio for Philly because he wanted a “new challenge.”
“Yeah, you know at some point, I’d been in San Antonio for seven years and had a few head (coaching) interviews and just wanted a change, a different challenge,” Udoka told Kevin Kinkead of Crossing Broad. “Looking forward to getting back and getting reunited with Brett (Brown), someone I have a lot familiarity with. And obviously it’s a great team here so I’m looking forward to that.”
There’s little doubt that he’s looking to become a head coach at some point in the future. The Chicago Bulls are reported to be interested in Udoka if they decide to move on from Jim Boylen.
The assistant’s focus with the Sixers has been on defense, which bodes well for his chances at snagging a head coaching job at some point in the future. Despite Philly’s mildly disappointing season so far, the stout defense has carried the team for the most part.
Delany never played in the NBA, but he spent the early part of his professional career climbing through one of the NBA’s best franchises—the Miami Heat. Much like David Fizdale and Erik Spoelstra, Delany cut his teeth in Miami’s video room, rising from an intern to an advance scout.
Perhaps those Miami ties will leave the Knicks with a sour taste in their mouth. After all, Fizdale’s hiring brought so much optimism to the organization but it ended in disaster.
Following his 11-year stint with the Heat, Delany became an assistant coach for the Charlotte Hornets, where he spent four seasons. His current gig is as an assistant coach for the Orlando Magic.
Much like Udoka, Delany’s current team is part of the NBA’s 22-team restart. The Orlando Magic are trying to jump the Brooklyn Nets in the standings and avoid the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.
The Knicks should be in absolutely no rush to make a decision. With the vast majority of the league still preparing to finish this season, the Knicks have ample time to interview a wide range of candidates. Adding Udoka and Delany to the mix can’t hurt.
With all this said, it’s still a safe bet to peg Tom Thibodeau as the favorite for this gig. He has the experience, the ties to New York City, and one of the best defensive minds in the game of basketball. Obviously, things can change as the Knicks conduct interviews, but for now, Thibs remains the frontrunner.