Disgraced Ex-Knicks Coach Lands With Title Contender: Report

David Fizdale, New York Knicks

Getty Julius Randle of the New York Knicks talks with head coach David Fizdale.

After seemingly decades of searching, it appears the New York Knicks finally got it right with their head coaching decision, as soon-to-be fourth-year headman Tom Thibodeau has this club soundly on the rise after attaining their best record and first playoff series win since 2012-13.

Though the organization has made some questionable decisions regarding its efforts to fill the need for a leader on the sidelines, however, it appears one of its past mistakes has received a handsome opportunity to join on with a legitimate title contender.

As first reported on June 5 by ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, former Knicks head coach David Fizdale will be joining Frank Vogel’s staff with the Phoenix Suns for the 2023-24 season.

Wojnarowski would note via Twitter that despite having shifted career paths to the front office over the last few years, the opportunity to join on with the presumed Western Conference juggernaut was too appealing for Fizdale to pass up.

“Fizdale had taken to the front office turn in his career, but the lure of reuniting with Vogel — whom he had worked under with Lakers — and coaching a Suns franchise with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant turned out to be too much to pass up,” Wojnarowski wrote.

During his one-and-a-half-year stint with the Knicks, David Fizdale went on to accumulate an overall record of 21-88 before being fired on December 6, 2019.

Since then he served as an assistant coach for Vogel during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2021-22 season and held the title of associate general manager with the Utah Jazz throughout the 2022-23 campaign.

Obi Toppin Not Expected to Receive Extention From Knicks

Though the club’s draft selections have proven to be better than the large chunk of their coaching choices over the last several years, one expert seems to believe that a particular rookie-scale player still has yet to prove himself worthy of an extension.

Spotrac’s Keith Smith recently made the prediction that the Knicks will not end up offering a new deal to the extension-eligible former lottery pick Obi Toppin this offseason.

“Toppin’s career has been spent as a low-minute backup behind Julius Randle. There’s very much still a mystery box quality to his game. He’s flashed when given time, but those flashes aren’t extension-worthy…unless he’s traded ahead of the extension deadline,” Smith wrote.

Throughout his three-year tenure with the Knicks, Toppin has endured quite an inconsistent role within Tom Thibodeau’s rotation, as he has been trapped behind Julius Randle on the depth chart. As a result, he finds himself sporting rather underwhelming averages of 7.0 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting 49.2% from the field.

That said, as Smith noted, at times during his tenure the big man has shown flashes of brilliance, particularly when slotted into the starting lineup in place of Randle, where he’s gone on to post stellar per-game averages of 20.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists while shooting 57.6% from the floor and 44.0% from deep.

Knicks Predicted to Extend Immanuel Quickley

Keith Smith may be down on the Knicks extending Obi Toppin this summer, but he seems to be rather high on the idea of an offer heading in Immanuel Quickley’s direction.

In fact, he would go as far as to project that the guard could land a deal worth “$84 million with incentives that could bring it up to $90 million, no options.”

“Quickley is a really fun player. He’s a scoring machine and a solid defender. He’d probably start for a handful of teams around the NBA. The challenge with the Knicks is that starting him and Jalen Brunson would be a tiny backcourt. That keeps Quickley in a bench role, and that limits his upside contract-wise. But the Knicks would do well to get him signed long-term. Something bridging his current role with his potential makes sense, as New York loves to add incentives into their contracts,” Smith wrote.

Quickley is coming off of a tremendous season where he finished with career-high averages of 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.0 steals while shooting 44.8% from the field in 28.9 minutes a night.

With his efforts, he finished second in the running for the 2023 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.

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