Knicks coaching candidates: Chris Fleming
I start with Chicago Bulls assistant Chris Fleming because if you connect the dots, it would appear his interview could be tied to the Knicks gaining information on a more serious candidate in Kenny Atkinson.
Fleming and Atkinson played college basketball together at the University of Richmond. Atkinson later hired his college teammate to be his lead assistant to coach the Nets offense in Brooklyn. Fleming eventually joined Jim Boylen’s staff in Chicago at the end of the 2018-19 season, where he currently serves.
While Tom Thibodeau appears to be the front-runner for the Knicks job, there is strong internal support for Kenny Atkinson, according to Ian Begley of SNY. Perhaps those who support Atkinson are looking to convince key decision makers in the front office by showcasing one of his closest NBA aides.
Not to sell Fleming short, he does have head coaching experience with the German National Team where he won four German League championships and was the German League Coach of the Year in 2011. Of the assistants granted interviews, Fleming has the most experience as a head coach, even if it’s outside of the NBA.
He also has a strong record working to improve young players. Fleming was reportedly a key factor in the development of Radions Kurus, among others.
If the Knicks want to emphasize player development, Fleming could be a good fit. And it’s possible he could come as a package deal with Kenny Atkinson.