Obviously, this was the big story of the day, so big, in fact, that it seems like it overloaded our server (or whatever. I honestly don’t know what the issue specifically was), so we never got the chance to actually put up a thread on the topic. Here it is now.
From Woj at ESPN:
Even before a startling news conference in the wake of a blowout loss to Cleveland on Sunday, New York Knicks president Steve Mills had started to lay the internal groundwork for the eventual dismissal of coach David Fizdale, league sources told ESPN.
Mills is selling owner James Dolan on a roster constructed to be highly competitive in the Eastern Conference, leaving Fizdale vulnerable to an ouster only weeks into the second season of a four-year contract that league sources say is worth $22 million.
Days before exiled star Kristaps Porzingis returns to Madison Square Garden with the Dallas Mavericks, Mills delivered the first public salvo on shaping an organizational narrative that the Knicks’ struggles aren’t born of an overmatched roster, but the lack of a “consistent level of effort and execution.”
Rival coaches and executives see a mismatched Knicks roster slow of foot, without legitimate NBA guard play, but Mills is selling Dolan on a poorly coached team that is underachieving at 2-8 to start the season, league sources said. Around Madison Square Garden and the league, the timing and tone of the news conference was met with considerable surprise and dismay — and it was considered to be a complete undermining of Fizdale.
“Everyone is moving to their positions now,” a league source close to management and the coaching staff told ESPN. “This is how they’ll make (Fizdale) the fall guy.”
No offense to Woj, who is obviously the most plugged in guy in the NBA and if Woj says “they’re going to scapegoat Fizdale,” I believe him, but this report seems to be a bit more like “everyone else in the NBA believes that Mills is going to scapegoat Fizdale,” rather than actual evidence that Mills is scapegoating Fizdale.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that this very likely IS a case where “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” and this probably IS what Mills is trying to do, as we all thought as soon as Mills and Perry gave that press conference last night, but it seems to me that this report is mostly just reasonable supposition. Since it’s reasonable, it’s likely correct, but it’s still just supposition.
But either way, the Knicks are clearly Knicks-ing it up, either way (as the press conference was enough of a trainwreck on its own), so that’s something.