Mike Miller’s time with the New York Knicks could be coming to an end.
Mike Miller, who climbed from the G-League coaching ranks to replace David Fizdale as interim head coach of the New York Knicks this past season, is searching for other coaching opportunities after being replaced by Tom Thibodeau, per the New York Daily News.
There were early indications the 56-year-old could find a spot on Thibodeau’s staff, but after the reported hires of multiple high-ranking assistants, it makes sense for Miller to seek a larger role somewhere else.
The Knicks are set to add former Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne and Jazz player development guru Johnnie Bryant to Thibodeau’s sideline. Former Knicks coach Mike Woodson is also expected to be hired.
Miller’s success with the Knicks has been impressive but bounded by the constraints of a rebuilding organization: he found great success coaching in Westchester where several of his G-League players found roster spots on NBA teams, and he did an admirable job replacing Fizdale in an impossible situation last winter. However, none of the players who progressed from Westchester have turned into significant pieces for New York, and while the Knicks played better under Miller than Fizdale, that’s not saying much.
As the Knicks have struggled to turn their recent lottery picks into productive players (as of yet), it’s questionable how much Miller should be held accountable as a coach without a permanent role in developing them.
More than anything, Miller proved he deserves a broader look as a leader who has paid his dues in both small college settings and developmental leagues, while sharpening his craft under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.
After inheriting a team that started the season 4-18 under Fizdale, with upper management changes looming, Miller found a competitive spirit among a group of young players on rookie scale contracts and veterans on expiring deals. New York finished the coronavirus-shortened season 17-27 in the games coached by Miller.
Once Leon Rose took over as team president, it was clear a new head coach would be in place by next season. Miller is still signed through 2021, and if he doesn’t find a better opportunity elsewhere, it’s very possible he could return in a different capacity with the Knicks.