Could the New York Knicks play the long game in trying to steal Doc Rivers from Los Angeles?
The New York Knicks are deep into their head coaching search with the process expected to be completed by the end of the month. While there are eleven candidates being considered for the job, most NBA insiders believe former Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau is the front-runner for the position.
However, Stephen A. Smith went on ESPN radio in New York on Wednesday afternoon to drop a little nugget about interim coach Mike Miller and a new name to consider down the road for the head coach spot.
"“I have been told it’s entirely possible that Mike Miller might be kept for another year and then after that, you go and you get Doc Rivers away from the Clippers,” Smith said on the Bart and Hahn show on ESPN Radio in New York."
Consider the source, Knicks fans. Stephen A. Smith predicts where players and coaches will land about as often as Mitchell Robinson attempts a jump shot from beyond five feet of the rim. He also championed for Mark Jackson to become coach in the same interview.
Could Doc Rivers be a serious candidate to coach the Knicks one day?
Anything is possible. If you have followed the NBA for any length of time, you at least know that is true. However, Rivers signed a long-term contract extension with the Clippers in 2019, and if the NBA season is able to reach a conclusion this year, it’s very possible he is the man sitting on the bench when they win their first NBA championship.
It’s hard to believe he would then leave the Clippers to come coach a Knicks team that we can only guess whether they will have a built a competitive roster by then.
If you read the tea leaves, it seems pretty obvious that recently-hired president Leon Rose is set on naming his CAA buddy Tom Thibodeau as the lead man in New York. Knicks legend Patrick Ewing even threw in an endorsement for his former coach on Sirius XM radio on Wednesday.
"“I think Tom Thibodeau is a great coach,” Ewing told Frank Isola and Sarah Kustok. “I had the opportunity to have him be on the staff when I played and also work with him. He’s been around a lot of years. He knows the game in and out. He’s going to do everything he needs to do in terms of having his team prepared to play every night. I think he’d be a great candidate for that job.”"
Until the Knicks officially announce their new head coaching hire, the speculation will continue to make headlines, but don’t count on the team bringing Mike Miller back in the lead role as a bridge to Doc Rivers.