Knicks President Isiah Thomas is commited to going down with the ship, writes the Bergen Record’s Steve Adamek, but that doesn’t mean some of his charges won’t be packing their bags.
Unless Phil Jackson decides he’s ready to rock right now and forgos talk that he may return to Los Angeles, the Knicks aren’t likely to imitate Denver’s “third coach is a charm” philosophy by whacking Herb Williams.
So, as Penny Hardaway said before the team left for Sacramento and Game 4 of its trip Friday against the Kings, “I guess players are next. I guess at some point the players have to be accountable. If you can’t get the job done as players, then you already fired the coach, then the players become the next thing.”
Besides, if the Knicks wait until the summer to change coaches, they could fish from a better-stocked pond, with Flip Saunders possibly out in Minnesota and Seattle’s Nate McMillan currently coaching out the final years of their contract. They, of course, would be possible fallback candidates if Jackson chooses a more ready-made championship contender for his next job (i.e. Minnesota, Seattle, Portland).
Or if Larry Brown’s proclamation that Detroit “is my last pro coaching job” is to be believed. Check for a “for sale” sign on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Remember, though, that Thomas said last week he wouldn’t consummate any “short-term fix … patchwork” deals just to change things for the sake of change. Let’s see if that holds up against his itchy trigger finger and his desire to keep the news of his team from getting buried next to the NHL labor-talk reports in the tabloids.
Thus, expect the Kurt Thomas-for-Long Island’s Wally Szczerbiak scenario to reemerge. Minnesota is also reeling and needs toughness, while the Knicks need a shooter with Allan Houston on ice again.
Their early season reluctance to trade Michael Sweetney could also soften, for the second-year big man one fan recently serenaded with Fat Albert-like shouts of “Hey, hey, hey!” has seemingly plateaued. Even the criticize-with-care MSG Network lambasted him for lack of effort Tuesday night – a likely sign his welcome is wearing thin at the top.
(you can’t have a sweet NY without Michael Sweetny, but the Knicks might try, anyway)