Patrick Ewing hasn’t talked with Phil Jackson about the Knicks’ head-coaching vacancy yet, but he said Saturday that he’d “love” the opportunity to coach in New York.
“I’d love to go back to New York,” Ewing said in an interview with CBS Sports Radio. “My family is still there, I still have a home there. I’m not sure what is going to happen in terms of who they’re going to have to fill that void but if I get a call, I’m ready.”
Right now, it doesn’t seem as if Ewing is a candidate for the head-coaching job. Jackson said on Friday that his preference is to hire a coach with whom he has a relationship.
"I'd like to have a prior relationship with a coach so that we know that we’ve gone through some kind of issues together. We’ve dealt with some kind of battle situations. We’ve had conflicts, we’ve had disagreements and we know how to work things out," Jackson said. "Those, I think, are part and parcel, I think, to having a relationship with people that can work together that can still disagree and come to terms."
Ewing doesn’t fit that description. Derek Fisher appears to be the leading candidate for the job at this point.
There’s a possibility that Ewing could be added as an assistant. But Ewing is interested in a head-coaching job. He’s the associate head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats under head coach Steve Clifford and has helped develop big man Al Jefferson.
“I’m happy where I’m at in Charlotte and I’m enjoying working with coach Steve Clifford and the Charlotte Hornets organization. All I can do is continue to learn my craft. ... When and if somebody decides that they believe in me to give me the opportunity, then I’ll be ready.”
Ewing, a Hall of Fame center, was asked on CBS Sports Radio if he thought that there was a “bias” against hiring former frontcourt players as head coaches.
“I really don’t know. It’s something I don’t even try to lose sleep over anymore,” said Ewing, who has served as an assistant coach for nine seasons. “All I can do is continue to learn my craft and continue to do the best job that I can do and learn from all the people that I’ve worked with and worked for and to make sure that when I get an opportunity that I’m prepared.”
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