David Fizdale saw his tenure as Knicks coach end with an unceremonious dismissal with the team stumbling to a 4-18 record in the 2019-20 season. After time spent with family, regrouping and reflecting, Fizdale reportedly will join the Lakers as a lead assistant coach.
According to a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Fizdale is finalizing a deal to replace Jason Kidd, who was hired as the Mavericks coach, on Frank Vogel’s staff. The move reunites Fizdale with LeBron James, who he developed a close relationship with during their years together in Miami where Fizdale was an assistant under Erik Spoelstra. It also brings Fizdale home to Los Angeles, where he was born.
Fizdale spent eight seasons on the bench in Miami before getting his first head coaching opportunity and leading the Grizzlies to the playoffs in 2016-17. But he was fired after just 19 games the next season as he feuded with one of the team’s stars, Marc Gasol.
Joining the Knicks in 2018-19, Fizdale was tasked with overseeing a rebuild under team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry. But after a 17-65 initial season the team went through a disappointing free agency period, but still signaled that the rebuild would not be so patient.
A 2-8 start capped by a one-sided loss at home to Cleveland prompted a news conference with the front office expressing the dismay. With the team headed in the wrong direction, Fizdale took the first hit, being fired and replaced by interim coach Mike Miller. Mills was removed as team president shortly afterward, setting in motion the hiring of the current leadership structure.