Leon Rose and the Knicks are widening their net for prospective head coaches, adding fresh names to an experienced pool that has grown to seven known candidates.
Having already been linked to established names such as favorite Tom Thibodeau, former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, interim coach Mike Miller and former Knicks coach Mike Woodson, they are now planning to interview a trio of assistant coaches: Ime Udoka of the 76ers, Pat Delany of the Magic and Chris Fleming of the Bulls, according to The Athletic and ESPN.
The 42-year-old Udoka spent seven years as an assistant with the Spurs before joining Brett Brown’s staff in Philadelphia last year as the team’s top assistant. An NBA player for parts of seven seasons, he interviewed for the Cavaliers job that went to John Beilein last year and is said to be a candidate if the Bulls move on from Jim Boylen. Udoka played for the Knicks briefly, appearing in eight games during the 2005-06 season.
“Great guy, very knowledgeable. He has that Spurs pedigree,” a source familiar with Udoka who confirmed the Knicks’ plan to interview him said. “He can walk in the room and command the room.”
Fleming worked with Atkinson for three years with the Nets and played with him at the University of Richmond, and really established himself overseas as a four-time German Cup winner and four-time German League champion coach with Brose Baskets. The 50-year-old Fleming, a New Jersey native, played in Germany following his career at Richmond and served as the Bulls’ lead assistant this season. He also coached the German national team from 2015-17.
Delany spent four years with the Hornets as an assistant coach under Steve Clifford before joining him in Orlando in 2018. Prior to that, he spent 11 years in the Heat organization, working as a a video intern, video coordinator and advance scout. That same year he joined the Magic, Delany reportedly nearly wound up in New York as an assistant coach with David Fizdale. Interestingly, Clifford knows Thibodeau closely as well, having worked alongside him as a Knicks assistant when Jeff Van Gundy was the head coach and told The Post’s Marc Berman that Thibodeau would be a good fit in New York because of his ability to develop players and establish relationships with them.
The 62-year-old Thibodeau, who previously coached the Timberwolves and the Bulls, is considered the front-runner for the job due to his experience, winning pedigree and decades-long relationship with Rose, the new Knicks president.