The New York Knicks’ pursuit of Kentucky’s Kenny Payne continues.
Jeff Goodman reports that UK’s associate head coach is currently “weighing an offer to join the New York Knicks organization.” The Knicks’ latest front office additions, Leon Rose and Williams Wesley, a.k.a. Worldwide Wes, have a close relationship with Payne.
Known by Wildcat players simply as “KP,” he’s been the righthand man for John Calipari ever since he arrived in Lexington . A maestro in developing post players, Payne also plays the important role of “good cop” to Coach Cal’s “bad cop.” When former Wildcats return to Lexington, Payne is often the first person they see. A mentor of sorts, players are close enough to throw jabs at the former Louisville Cardinal that Rex Chapman put on a poster.
Payne’s close relationship with former players is a big reason why he’s sought after by the Knicks. Every Knicks’ fan dreams of a day where Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns are suiting up in Madison Square Garden. With Payne on staff, the front office believes they can make that dream one step closer to a reality.
Payne’s son, Zan, is entering his third year as a walk-on with the UK men’s basketball program. As Payne ponders a future coaching his son or for Tom Thibodeau, another important person in the Kentucky men’s basketball program is weighing a decision. DeWayne Peevy is a candidate for the athletic director vacancy at DePaul. Aside from John Calipari, Peevy and Payne are the most important people currently in the men’s basketball program. Decisions made this week will play significant role in the future of Kentucky basketball.