David Fizdale was wanted a man.
Before accepting the New York Knicks’ head coaching position, the 43-year-old apparently had an offer from the Phoenix Suns that he turned down, according to The Athletic’s Michael Scotto:
David Fizdale passed on a 4-year offer from the Phoenix Suns before eventually accepting a 4-year offer from the New York Knicks to become head coach, league sources told The Athletic. https://t.co/lcWeTHjUpZ
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) May 3, 2018
The Suns would go on to hire Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov—a solid choice in his own right. But Fizdale’s decision to wait on the Knicks’ position is interesting. Here are the details, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski:
Fizdale on Thursday in New York met with Knicks owner James Dolan, who then gave his approval to president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry to enter into contract negotiations with Fizdale, league sources said.
Fizdale, who coached the Memphis Grizzlies into the Western Conference playoffs in his one full season as coach, was New York’s primary target from the start of the search process.
Fizdale traveled back to his Los Angeles home Thursday night, and will be back to New York for a news conference early next week, according to league sources. Fizdale also expected to travel to Latvia soon to meet with Knicks All-Star center Kristaps Porzingis, sources said.
Fizdale, if you remember, previously said the Knicks would have a tough time recruiting free agents following Porzingis’ ACL injury. That he turned down a Suns franchise touting Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, TJ Warren, two first-round picks in this year’s draft and a ton of cap space this summer suggests he’s higher on New York’s future than initially expected. That, or he trusts the Knicks’ front office tandem of Scott Perry and Steve Mills more than the Suns’ regime.
Either way, the Knicks made a good choice here—if only because David Fizdale is neither Mark Jackson nor a hire who wreaks of typical Madison Square Garden politics ruling the decision-making process.