GREENBURGH, N.Y. — How does David Fizdale tune out the speculation about his job status? The Knicks coach revealed Tuesday that he has the backing of the one fan who matters most: Knicks owner James Dolan.
“Every game, every game. Jim Dolan comes in and gives me a vote of confidence, a pat on my back and really has just been incredibly encouraging over the last year and a half or whatever it’s been,” Fizdale said. “All we talk about is just sticking to the process of making these guys better and building for a future of sustainable winning.”
There has been widespread speculation about Fizdale’s job security since team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry held what appeared to be a hastily put together news conference immediately after the Knicks' 21-point loss to Cleveland on Nov. 10. Mills said then that though they supported Fizdale, they were not happy with the effort and execution they had seen from the team they put together.
Fizdale said Tuesday that he didn’t know that Mills and Perry were talking to the media while he was in the locker room talking to his players after the game, but he has no problem with their unscheduled remarks. While a coach regularly addresses the media after games, it is rare for team management to do so.
"I wasn’t disappointed or shocked or anything like that [by Mills’ decision to address the media],” Fizdale said. “It was like, ‘We got to play better basketball. We do got to get to a place where we start to trust each other and do the things necessary to give ourselves a chance to win every night.’ So we spoke immediately after that and, like I said, I’m in the trench with those guys.”
The Knicks are 2-2 since that loss with their most recent win on Monday an 18-point rout of the Cavaliers. Over the past three games, the Knicks have beaten Dallas and Cleveland and lost to Charlotte on a three-pointer in the final seconds.
Fizdale sees a lot of progress over the past two weeks.
“We’re still growing a young team . . . These guys are kids still. Although we’re developing them, we just feel like we’re trying to fast-track them a little more now. We’re trying to put more accountability on what it takes to win. Whether you win the game or not, you can’t control all of that. But are we getting closer to doing the things necessary to give ourselves a chance?"
Notes & quotes: Elfrid Payton was re-evaluated and tests revealed that his strained right hamstring is not fully healed. The team said he will be out for at least another 10 days before being evaluated again.