There’s not a head coaching position in the NBA, save the Lakers or Celtics, that could open without speculation pointing to the return of Phil Jackson. The Denver Post’s Jim Armstrong, however, isn’t waiting for any opening, and he claims Phil’s representatives aren’t, either.
What if the doomsayers are right and Jeff Bzdelik gets fired during the season? Kiki Vandeweghe would want a coach who could relate to the players, who knows the game, who is familiar with personnel around the league. Somebody like, well, himself.
Trouble is, it’s never going to happen. “I have no intention of doing that,” Vandeweghe said. “I like what I do.” …
It’s not like Vandeweghe wouldn’t have other options. Phil Jackson, for instance. I’m hearing Jackson’s people have contacted a handful of NBA teams, the Nuggets among them, to gauge potential interest. Vandeweghe isn’t commenting, but my sense is he wouldn’t go there. …
(Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik gestures angrily at Phil, who probably wasn’t watching TV)
There have been telltale signs that Bzdelik has lost control of the players – the Seattle game, for one – but he doesn’t figure to go during the season unless things get terminally ugly. But just to be on the safe side, he might want to give the players a subtle message: Quit standing around!
The one regret, I wanted to see how we would have developed with Marbury,” Chaney said. “The biggest regret was I finally got a quality point guard, an All-Star. Charlie Ward and Howard Eisley competed hard every night. But Marbury was an All-Star point guard. It’s hard to get guys of that caliber.”
Added Chaney, “I made a statement before I got fired. We’d definitely make the playoffs. I felt positive I would’ve made it once Marbury got there.”
Tomorrow, the Knicks face the Rockets in Houston, pitting Chaney’s successor, Lenny Wilkens, against Chaney’s predecessor, Jeff Van Gundy. Chaney, who lives in Houston’s outskirts, will not attend.
Chaney can’t fathom why Thomas so quickly determined they couldn’t work together. Though Thomas is a hands-on GM, Chaney said he’s not opposed to that.
“He’s a different type of general manager,” Chaney said. “He’s one that’s involved. I knew that when he came in. It all depends on the relationship. They figured it out right away they wanted to make a change. We could’ve worked it out. They decided differently.”
Chaney avoided phone calls from Knicks owner James Dolan in the aftermath of his dismissal. Chaney showed up for that night’s game, was fired two hours before tip-off and escorted out of the Garden.
Chaney called the way it was handled “bothersome” but has since forgiven Dolan, once his biggest supporter.
“I wanted to remove myself for a while. And I did,” Chaney said. “I have a great deal of respect for [Dolan]. I consider him a friend. We’ve had great conversations during my time there.”
Chaney said Thomas never called. “I didn’t expect him do,” Chaney said. “It’s not who he is.”