If the Knicks roster is fully backing head coach David Fizdale, they didn’t’ do much to show it on Tuesday night in 120-102 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
It’s only adding to the tense times within a dysfunctional organization that is broken on every level of management.
Following Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry’s impromptu press conference — which was fueled by a talk with owner James Dolan — laid the groundwork to make Fizdale the scapegoat, which reportedly began before addressing the media.
Their overarching message was that they expected this team to be better than their now 2-9 record. Even though Fizdale has been left with a roster that is filled with cast-offs and inexperienced, unproven youngsters that need time to develop into legitimate NBA contributors.
It was as tone-deaf a display as could be considering Mills and Perry are the ones responsible for building this team.
Following a 17-65 2018-19 season — tied for the worst in franchise history — and the trading of franchise talent Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks for draft capital and salary-cap space to make runs at marquee free agents, Knicks management whiffed.
They lost out on Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and Kemba Walker, among others. Then they tried to save face by saying they didn’t want them in the first place.
Now in his second year, Fizdale is left with the difficult job of juggling a roster filled with youngsters that need playing time and veterans who were promised minutes and a chance to turn the culture around in New York.
That’s no easy task, and Fizdale hasn’t necessarily excelled in the balancing act. But the behind-the-scenes work from management to make him the fall guy is only adding to the unnecessary noise surrounding the beleaguered franchise.
Multiple reports, however, have revealed that Mills and Perry’s jobs are also on thin ice alongside Fizdale’s — making every game as close to a must-win as possible for a franchise with the worst record over the last six seasons.
In case things weren’t bad enough, a familiar face returns to Madison Square Garden on Thursday night as Porzingis and the Mavericks come to town. The Knicks came away with their second win of the season last Friday in Dallas when Frank Ntilikina put together his best outing to date.
The last thing Mills and Perry want to see is Porzingis go off and embarrass the Knicks in Madison Square Garden to remind a miserable fan base of what they are missing out on.
It could be looked upon as one of the worst trades in franchise history if the Knicks can’t turn things around soon and is only going to strengthen the calls to clean house at MSG.