Kenny Payne remains in the running to join the New York Knicks’ coaching staff.
After KSR first reported the news that Tom Thibodeau was interested in Payne as an assistant coach back in July, Adam Zagoria has confirmed that the UK associate head coach remains in the running.
In fact, Zagoria added that Kentucky already has a replacement option on the table if Payne does decide to take the job with the Knicks: Bruiser Flint.
Kentucky’s Kenny Payne remains in the mix to join the Knicks with Bruiser Flint an option to replace him at UK, source says https://t.co/j3n7DqkAfK
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) August 7, 2020
At the time of KSR’s initial report on July 26, the Knicks had not yet officially contacted Payne, but the franchise was discussing the valued UK assistant as an option internally.
Outside of his success developing elite big men, sources tell KSR that the Knicks are intrigued with Payne’s ability to recruit former Kentucky stars such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker to New York when they become free agents in the future.
Stephen Bondy of the New York Daily News previously reported Payne as a potential option for the Knicks, but only if the franchise hired 10-time NBA All-Star Jason Kidd as its head coach. The same report also mentioned former UK assistant Rod Strickland and former Knicks coach Mike Woodson as other options to join Kidd’s staff in New York.
Instead, the franchise agreed to a five-year deal with Thibodeau, who previously coached the Chicago Bulls and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
As for Flint – John Calipari’s longtime friend and former UMass assistant – is in his fourth year at Indiana and has more than 30 years of coaching experience. The Philadelphia native spent 20 years as a Division I head coach and won 331 games while leading Drexel (2001-16) and UMass (1996-01). He was was named Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year (2002, 2004, 2009 and 2012) and NABC District Coach of the Year (1998, 2007, 2009 and 2012) four times apiece.