In May, Knicks president Isiah Thomas flew to Los Angeles. Some thought Thomas was there to conduct a second interview with Phil Jackson.
Not the case. Thomas was seeking to interview Paul Westphal. A former NBA head coach, Westphal had flown under the radar the past four years, coaching in the shadow of UCLA and USC, at Pepperdine in the West Coast Conference.
Saturday night, during NBA summer league play at UNLV, Knicks interim coach Herb Williams and Westphal sat together in the third-to-last-row of the bleachers, the latest bombshell in the Knicks’ coaching search that has been going on for three months.
Thomas, who interviewed Westphal for the head-coaching position, is now looking at the former Sonics and Suns head coach as the perfect top assistant for Williams, who clearly will be the Knicks’ head coach next season if Larry Brown stays in Detroit. And, of course, if Williams doesn’t make it through the season, Westphal, if hired as an assistant, would be waiting in the wings.
I caught most of Saturday’s Knicks/Wizards summer league clash, and while such matchups usually tell you a little less about the relative abilities of the players involved than say, your average NFL exhibition game, Nate Robertson looks to be a terrific addition for New York. Robertson’s passing, ball-handling, court savvy, etc. put him in a different class. Maybe not First Class, but certainly Business (or if you’re flying Virgin, Premium Economy).