Two familiar names have emerged as potential fill-ins for Walt “Clyde” Frazier as the MSG Network is preparing for the inevitable retirement of the 78-year-old Hall of Famer from calling the New York Knicks games.
According to New York Daily News’s Bob Raissman, the network is already laying out its backup plan as Frazier has started to cut back on traveling to Knicks road games beginning last season.
Van Gundy, 61, spent the last 16 years with ESPN creating on-air chemistry with Jackson and MSG Network’s resident play-by-play anchor Mike Breen. Van Gundy became a fan favorite at the broadcast booth for his candor.
Before joining the television booth, Van Gundy held head coaching jobs in New York and Houston. He was the third-winningest coach in Knicks history with 248 wins, 25 victories ahead of Pat Riley. He recently worked with Team USA at the 2023 FIBA World Cup as its chief scout.
Jackson, 58, played his first five seasons in the NBA with the Knicks. The New York native was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1988 and made his lone All-Star appearance in 1989. Jackson has popularized several catchphrases, including “Mama, there goes that man!” and “Hand down, man down!”
Tom Thibodeau Hopes to Revive Knicks’ Good Old Days
As the Knicks try to build on their most successful season in a decade, coach Tom Thibodeau wants to keep it going by bringing back the good old days of the ’90s.
It will mark the first time the Knicks will hold camp in the Lowcountry since 2008.
The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, is where the team used to hold training camps in their glory days in the ’90s — a tradition that former coach Pat Riley started. Thibodeau experienced those good old days as an assistant coach under Van Gundy, who continued the tradition. Interestingly, the only year they missed going there under Van Gundy was before their Cinderella run to the NBA Finals during the lockout-shortened season in 1998.
Zach Lowe View Knicks as ECF Contender
ESPN senior NBA reporter Zach Lowe believes the Knicks can jump from their second-round exit last season to the Eastern Conference Finals after retaining their core.
“They won a playoff series [last season],” Lowe said on the September 21 episode of the “NBA Today” on ESPN. “They demolished the Cleveland Cavaliers.”
“They competed hard against Miami in the second round. If I’m a Knicks optimist, Philadelphia? They’re a mess. Milwaukee? [They’re] facing some pressure. Boston? [They] gotta reinvent themselves around Kristaps Porzingis, some injury-prone guys. Miami? [They] still don’t have Damian Lillard. They got #Heat culture, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but don’t have Damian Lillard yet.”
“Why can’t we wake up in May and the New York Knicks are in the Conference Finals? Maybe not the finals; that might be a little much, but why not go to the Conference Finals? This is a good deep team [and] well coached. They’re going to grind defensively,” Lowe continued.
The Knicks are banking on stability and continuity after making only a minor tweak to their rotation — replacing Obi Toppin with Donte DiVincenzo.