Could John Calipari Be the Next New York Knicks Head Coach?

  • Dave Ragazzo

After eleven games and a 3-8 start, J.R. Smith might not be the only one on the Knicks that is starting to panic.

With panic, comes rumors of what will happen next for a team.  Will someone get traded?  Iman Shumpert’s name has constantly been thrown around in trade rumors since his rookie year, and rumors have heated up this year.  Speculation has calmed down over the last two weeks, but anything is possible, especially if they continue to play poorly.

The other type of rumor that could start flying around is the future of the head coach.  Could Mike Woodson get fired, just one year after he was strongly considered for Coach of the Year?  There is no clear cut indication that Woodson is going anywhere (at least for now) but what if he were to get axed?  Who would be his replacement?

Ken Berger, NBA insider for CBS Sports, thinks there is only one guy that could take this job; and that is John Calipari.  Calipari has been a dominant head coach and recruiter in the college ranks and NBA teams have tried to lure him away before.  In the late nineties, he coached the then New Jersey Nets and accumulated a 72-112 record in two and a half seasons but has since revived his coaching career at both the University of Memphis and the University of Kentucky.

A lot has changed since John Calipari coached the Nets in the late nineties, and now he would be a desireable head coaching candidate.  PHOTO COURTESY:  NJNP/GENE BOYARS

A lot has changed since John Calipari coached the Nets in the late nineties, and now he would be a desireable head coaching candidate. PHOTO COURTESY: NJNP/GENE BOYARS

If Woodson is to get fired, Calipari would likely be the first guy the Knicks would interview and would make the most sense for the team.   Carmelo Anthony will likely opt out of his contract and begin his Lebron-like free agency tour this summer.  The Knicks will be looking to keep Melo’s talents in Manhattan and getting a big name such as Calipari would certainly help.

Getting a big name might be their only choice too if they decide to make a change at head coach.  As Berger points out, they will be financially strapped this off-season and will be able to do very little when it comes to bringing talent around Anthony.  They will lose their first round pick to either Denver for the Anthony trade in 2011 or to Orlando if the pick is worse than Denver’s.  With Anthony almost certainly opting out of his contract this summer, a splash at head coach may be the only way to convince him to stay in New York.

All that being said, hope should not be lost on this season after just 11 games.  They are in a hole and the pressure will only be mounting.  Center Tyson Chandler will be out for a few more weeks and the Knicks have some tough games ahead of them.  If they don’t get on the winning track soon, expect Woodson to be shown the door and for Herb Williams to take over in the interim (like he has done so many times before).  After that, expect many big names to pop up as head coaching candidates for the New York Knicks.

If all this happens, John Calipari could and should be the name at the top of the list.

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