From Brian Lewis:
The Knicks confirmed Kenny Payne as the first addition to Tom Thibodeau’s new coaching staff, prying away John Calipari’s longtime right-hand man and bringing him from Kentucky to the Garden.
“I’m thrilled that Kenny has joined my staff as an assistant coach. He has an outstanding ability to forge relationships with players and improve their skills,” Thibodeau said in a statement. “He knows what it takes to win and has learned from one of the best coaches there is in John Calipari. Kenny will be a tremendous addition to our organization.”
Payne had spent the past decade working under – and winning with – Calipari, promoted to associate head coach in 2014 and helping the Wildcats to the first 38-0 season in college basketball history just a year later.
But the 53-year-old also has longstanding relationships with not only Knicks president Leon Rose, but senior vice president William Wesley.
Rose had been Calipari’s agent at CAA, where Wesley also worked. And Payne’s ties with “World Wide Wes” stretch back decades, all the way to his days playing for Louisville.
This is a fair enough move. Payne’s a well regarded coach. Hard to worry too much about the assistant coaches on the teams. Let’s just get to the lottery!