Knicks 'zzone

Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.

Is D'Antoni waiting on Lawrence Frank?

The 0-16 fired head coach Lawrence Frank, who

The 0-16 fired head coach Lawrence Frank, who was in his sixth full season with the team. (November 24, 2009) (Credit: AP)

Whatever happens in Detroit could trigger Mike D'Antoni's activity in searching for a defensive assistant coach.

All eyes will be on what happens with the Pistons head coaching position, as the finalists appear to be Mike Woodson and Lawrence Frank.

From what we've been hearing, D'Antoni personally likes Frank and there is a strong mutual interest there for many reasons.

First of all, whomever the Knicks hire would have to accept a one-year deal because D'Antoni is going into the final year of his contract and there is some uncertainty about his future. Frank, unlike most, would likely be amenable to accepting a one-year contract because it gives him the freedom to continue to look for head coaching jobs.

Frank might also prefer New York over returning to Boston for proximity reasons, as well, because he could be home full-time in New Jersey, where his wife and two daughters remained last season when he worked for the Celtics.

But Frank reportedly had a strong interview that impressed the Pistons' hierarchy, so there is a good chance he could get that job. What does that mean for D'Antoni's search for a defensive assistant?

The rest of the coaching staff hasn't been officially re-signed, but those contracts do not expire until July 31. All four -- Phil Weber, Dan D'Antoni, Herb Williams and Kenny Atkinson -- are expected back. The bigger story, of course, is who will be chosen to join them.

* * *

* - Speaking of searches....all remains quiet in the hunt for Donnie Walsh's successor. As we've reported here and in the pages of Newsday several times, the candidates appear to be in-house lieutenants Glen Grunwald and Mark Warkentien and 76ers GM Ed Stefanski, with the latter getting some interest from the Toronto Raptors.

Stefanski's name was mentioned to me very early in this process. Though he is currently employed, the 76ers are going through a sale of the franchise and Rod Thorn's arrival has essentially made Stefanski somewhat obsolete. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, he's been granted permission to interview for other front office positions around the league.

Stefanski is represented by agent Warren LeGarie, who also represents D'Antoni. This link could be extremely important to the coach's future.

But the sense is that, until the collective bargaining talks begin to gain some momentum towards an agreement, there is no urgency on this front. There is enough confidence at the executive level of 2 Penn Plaza to go forward with a committee-like approach, with the current crew in place.

* - Already there have been a few changes: notorious scout Rodney Heard was told his contract would not be renewed and he is now officially no longer with the franchise. Heard was the subject of an NBA investigation after Yahoo! Sports reported illegal contact he made with draft-eligible players before past NBA Drafts under Isiah Thomas. The league slapped the Knicks with a $200,00 fine and Heard a $20,000 fine. Another scout, Steve Yoder (the former Wisconsin coach from the 1980s), was also let go.

* - And speaking of let go, the NBA just dismissed over 100 employees from its New York-area offices in a dramatic cost-cutting measure that, as we told you here, has been in the works for over a month. Some very good, very experienced and very loyal people were given pink slips and severance packages and left devastated. This is what really matters when it comes to covering professional sports lockouts: the innocent victims who suffer in the crossfire of billionaires fighting millionaires.

Though some in our business feel the need to take sides and offer up strong voices in this labor battle for the sake of access and information, someone should point out that neither side is right when it comes to regular people losing jobs. Yes, let's make sure to protect the right for the next Jerome James to get overpaid by ensuring there is no hard salary cap in the next agreement. Let's express concerns that someone who invested in the NBA by purchasing a small market team and made some awful hires, awful contracts and terrible trades can't afford to compete.

Let's now look away as 114 people -- who weren't represented at the bargaining table -- are added to the hundreds of thousands all looking for a job in today's market. Perhaps they can follow Deron Williams to Turkey.

* - Besides planning for workouts in August with fellow Knicks players, both Amar'e and Carmelo have been busy being fashion plates this summer. Melo took a trip to Milan and appeared in L'Uomo Vogue, while Amar'e is working on his clothing line (with Rachel Roy and Macy's) and had a recent shoot that saw him in pink, uh, slacks.

I'd like to call upon famed Garden photographer George Kalinsky to get his lens in front of Amar'e PDQ. If there was ever a time for a Clyde Redux, it is now. Let's get Amar'e in a Bolero and in front of a Rolls Royce and just cut to the chase already.

* - The Fix is leaving today for a little summer vacation with the family, but we do have Newsday's Barbara Barker here to house-sit. Be sure to check here regularly (and follow her on Twitter: @meanbarb) for updates regarding the NBA schedule, the NBA lockout and any Knicks-related news. And, if I haven't said it enough lately, thank you for the continued loyalty and support of this blog, our Facebook page and Twitter. Though the Knicks didn't get LeBron and were swept out of the playoffs, the last 12 months have been a wild, entertaining ride through trade rumors, funny stories, sad stories, winning streaks, losing streaks, ending streaks, gelato in Milan, escargot in Paris, Masia One's Montreal in the Fall walking down St. Catherine's Street, Amar'e and Melo at All-Star Weekend, the Melopalooza, seeing the word "Playoffs" again on the Garden floor and, of course, the Fixer Mixer.

As Sinatra sang, it was a very good year. And impossible to enjoy without the ever-growing population that is Fixer Nation. Have a great and safe summer. Time to get me a tan.....

Tags: Knicks , NBA , Mike D'Antoni , Lawrence Frank , Ed Stefanski , Mark Warkentien , Glen Grunwald , George Kalinski , Amar'e Stoudemire , Rodney Heard

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