Before making the hiring of David Fizdale as their new head coach official on Monday, the New York Knicks reportedly contacted Rich Paul, LeBron James’ agent, to get James’ opinion on Fizdale, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
James spent four years with Fizdale while Fizdale was an assistant coach with the Miami Heat.
Earlier in the season, when Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton was allegedly falling out of favor with his team, Fizdale, a Los Angeles native, was rumored be angling for the Lakers’ head coaching position. As it turns out, there was little-to-no fire behind that smoke.
However, Fizdale’s bond with James could give the Knicks an edge in free agency, albeit a slight one. Following news that the Memphis Grizzlies were relieving Fizdale of his head coaching duties, James took to Twitter to defend his former assistant coach.
I need some answers. Feels like my man was a fall guy— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 27, 2017
Would James leave an aging Cleveland Cavaliers roster to play alongside a rising star in Kristaps Porzingis and under a coach he respects? Even if he did, the Knicks would have to move mountains to accommodate the King.
The Knicks are projected to have roughly $5 million in cap space going into the summer (assuming Enes Kanter picks up his player option worth $18.6 million). Unless some team is a big fan of Kanter, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee or Tim Hardaway Jr., who will make a combined $66.7 million next season (Editor’s Note: Gross), New York is an unlikely landing spot for James.
Meanwhile, the Lakers can sign James outright without having to give up any of their promising young players. He could also recruit another established All-Star in free agency, as the Lakers have the financial flexibility to sign two max free agents.
James and the Cavaliers will play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday in hopes of making it to the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year. While New York or Los Angeles might be his future, Cleveland is his present, and we still have a ways to go until the free agency moratorium period on July 1.