UPDATE 10:42 am: ESPNNewYork took this one step further, saying that not only did Ewing turn down the D-League job, he was pretty ticked that’s all the franchise ever offered.
One source close to Ewing said the Hall of Famer felt a bit slighted by the Knicks’ offer to coach the Erie Bayhawks because he has already established himself in the NBA.
“Patrick has paid his dues,” the source said. “He was a little insulted.”
I can get why Knicks coach Mike Woodson didn’t want to add Ewing to has staff as an assistant, that would have led to a lot of “if things don’t go well we’ve got a coach in waiting in the wings” talk. You know, pretty much what happened with him and Mike D’Antoni.
9:05 am: Well, Patrick Ewing did get a head coaching offer this summer. It just wasn’t the one he expected. Or wanted.
Ewing interviewed for the Bobcats head coaching job this year, he interviewed for the Pistons job last year and… really, it would be faster to list the teams where Ewing hasn’t been passed over. He’s paid his dues as an assistant but has never been offered the big chair.
Except in the D-League, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
Patrick Ewing, who for years has been passed over for coaching positions with the Knicks, recently turned down an opportunity to become head coach of the club’s D-League team, the Daily News has learned.
Although Ewing is out of work after he was not retained by Orlando, the ex-Knicks great, who interviewed for the Charlotte Bobcats’ head coach position in June, would prefer to work in the NBA.
Ewing is an experienced assistant coach having most recently been on Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Orlando, with stops in Washington and Houston before that. He has interviewed for a number of NBA head coaching jobs but has never gotten an offer.
I don’t know why Ewing didn’t take the Knicks offer (reportedly he would prefer to stay at the NBA level), but I will say there is a perception among some around the NBA that if a coach goes to the D-League he can’t use that as a stepping stone to an NBA head-coaching job. That perception may be unfair and even untrue, but it is out there and some people buy into it. They think the best path to an NBA head coaching job is as an assistant at that level.
The Knicks have an open assistant coach position but Mike Woodson is expected to hire LaSalle Thompson for that spot. They have yet to hire a coach for their D-League team, the Erie Bayhawks.