Home Sports Knicks mailbag: Why a Patrick Ewing return to MSG is unlikely

Knicks mailbag: Why a Patrick Ewing return to MSG is unlikely

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You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Knicks.

Why isn’t Patrick Ewing even considered for the head coaching job? Seems like he will at the least be safer than other coaches due to fan support. — Ace in Tel Aviv

The good news is Ewing is out of the hospital and progressing nicely from his recent COVID-19 diagnosis. The bad news, the Knicks legend may not figure into this coaching search that will commence once the Knicks know their season is over.

If Steve Mills were still president, Ewing definitely would be a top target. According to an NBA source, Mills reached out to Ewing during the last coaching search in 2018.

But Ewing had just finished his rookie season at Georgetown and was not ready to leave yet, according to two sources familiar with the situation. Hence, Ewing wasn’t one of the 11 coaches Mills interviewed.

Patrick Ewing
Patrick EwingEPA

Mills had done a good job in getting Ewing back in good graces with the organization. His trade demand that featured a list of one club (Seattle) was not forgotten for a long time by owner James Dolan.

Ewing was doing well at Georgetown but has lost three key players via transfer. The NCAA has eased up on transfer waivers, which probably makes the college gig not as desirable. Ewing’s record is 49-46 in three seasons. He was 15-17 when the Big East Tournament was canceled in March.

Knicks president Leon Rose never had Ewing as a client, as the Hall of Fame center was a David Falk guy from the beginning. So Rose doesn’t have a relationship with Ewing as he does with Tom Thibodeau, Kenny Atkinson and John Calipari — all Creative Artists Agency clients.

The question is after three seasons in college, would Ewing now have any interest in being the top assistant on Thibodeau’s staff? Thibodeau coached Ewing as a Knicks assistant from 1996-2000.

Back in 2015, when he was a Charlotte assistant, Ewing told me he’d never want a college head-coaching job because of the recruiting. So I don’t expect him to be a lifer. And I do think there’s a chance one day the 57-year-old Ewing will coach the Knicks.

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One NBA source says a Georgetown run to the Sweet 16 would be invaluable to his NBA head-coaching chances.

If there’s a college coach Rose would nab, it’s his longtime crony, Calipari, who claims no interest, or Villanova’s Jay Wright, who probably is destined for the Sixers down the road.

What are your thoughts about Killian Hayes at the 6 pick (assuming the Knicks get that pick)? — Jason Smith

At No. 6, Hayes might be too much of a point-guard project for Rose. Scouts are a little concerned about his speed. That the 18-year-old American southpaw grew up in France (his father played overseas) before playing in Germany professionally this season sounds too much like Frank Ntilikina. Rose would be more apt to reach with a more dynamic scoring point guard like local product Cole Anthony.

Really, do the Knicks want to deal with Lavar? — Elex Williams

Could Lavar force other teams to steer away from LaMelo? — Jordan Gruber

Yes and Yes. We’ve reported the Knicks had Lonzo Ball No. 1 on their draft board in 2017. They were well aware of father Lavar Ball’s eccentricities, but cared more about Lonzo’s talent. The Knicks, as we reported last Saturday, are sold on LaMelo Ball as the No. 1 rated point guard on their board because of his high upside as a 6-foot-7 driver/playmaker. If the Knicks move up in the lottery to the top 3, teams could be scared away from Lavar if he won’t let LaMelo work out when that’s allowable. Team could either be willing to trade down or pass altogether. Lavar is on record saying he’d like LaMelo in New York, where the Knicks have a grave need for a starting point guard. The big market is a boon, too. Rose dealt with the Ball family when the three Ball brothers were briefly a part of Creative Artists Agency.

Can (James) Dolan sell the team to the city? All fans could buy shares and (have) voting rights if they have a NY address. — James Donohue

That would be interesting since New Yorkers reputedly know basketball better than fans in other cities. The Garden crowd has often been saluted for its intelligence in cheering a good defensive play as much as a high-flying dunk. It’s the arena where the chant of “Dee-fense’’ originated. If the Knicks make it to Orlando’s restart and Dolan is chosen as one of the 35-person traveling party, at least he won’t have to deal with “Sell The Team’’ chants at the fan-less Disney gymnasium. The $4 billion question (franchise’s worth before the pandemic) is what would finally make Dolan sell the team.

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