Playoffs are not in the picture for the New York Knicks, and the NBA draft is officially more than four months away. That leaves team president Leon Rose to focus his energy on hiring a new head coach.
Rose reportedly plans to interview Mike Woodson and Mark Jackson with former Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau thought to be the favorite to be Rose’s first ever coaching hire.
Woodson was the Knicks head coach in 2012-13, guiding the team to 54 wins and a playoff series victory. That win is the lone postseason series the Knicks have won since 2000.
Rose, a former agent who represented Allen Iverson and LeBron James, was named Knicks president on March 2.
The Knicks will learn their position in the 2020 NBA Draft, scheduled for Oct. 15, when the draft lottery takes place on Aug. 25.
One of eight teams left out of the resumption of play in the NBA next month, the Knicks are looking for a fortuitous bounce of the ping-pong balls after settling for the No. 3 overall pick in 2019. Last year, the Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns all entered the lottery with a 14 percent chance to win the top pick. Instead, the New Orleans Pelicans (No. 1) and Memphis Grizzlies (No. 2) jumped the line and got in position to select Zion Williamson and Ja Morant.
The Knicks selected R.J. Barrett, but in the weeks to follow, missed out on prized free agents such as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, who instead signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Knicks went 21-45 in 2019-2020, the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference behind the Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons, who won 20 games apiece.
The Golden State Warriors won a league-worst 15 games.
Depending on the total loss of basketball-related income from the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA could set a miniscule salary cap and take the air out of free agency. The Knicks could still be major players for All-Star-caliber talent facing amnesty from their current teams, such as Pistons forward Blake Griffin and Thunder point guard Chris Paul. Paul is due $41 million in 2020-21 and $44 million the following season.
Griffin has $75.5 million remaining on his deal.
The amnesty provision entirely wipes a player’s salary off of the cap, but the player is paid the complete balance of his contract.