Knicks pass on NBA minicamp call to interview coaching candidates
The Knicks were the only one of eight teams to miss an NBA conference call Thursday that proposed bringing the non-Orlando clubs to a Chicago bubble in September for voluntary minicamps/scrimmages.
According to a source, the Knicks were preoccupied with coaching interviews Thursday. The source said the call was for the league’s general managers, and Scott Perry was committed to pre-scheduled video interviews.
ESPN subsequently reported Jason Kidd and Will Hardy were interviewed. They are two of 11 Knicks coaching candidates, with a decision expected later this month.
The Knicks’ absence from the call should not be considered opposition to the entire Chicago project, according to the source and it’s unclear why the Knicks did not ask for another operative to monitor what was a preliminary call.
The Knicks would like some form of organized training activities this summer to make up for missing out on the Orlando restart, but going to Chicago is not their top choice.
The Post reported Monday the NBA won’t permit any mandatory organized team activities for the “Delete Eight’’ at their own facilities because of health concerns. Having a Chicago bubble would be a compromise.
The Knicks, however, are not into playing games as their roster is flush with veterans who are going to be free agents and probably would not participate.
The Knicks’ interest in OTAs stems from having their new coach work with the young players on the roster and other players they hope to retain such as Reggie Bullock and perhaps Taj Gibson, especially if Tom Thibodeau is hired.
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The franchise’s first preference is being able to open training camp earlier than the other 22 teams in the restart so their draftees and any new free-agent signings can be part of it. Training camp for next season is expected in early-to-mid November.
If the Knicks are forced to field a team in Chicago, it will be voluntary for their players.
The Knicks would like to see newly signed guards Jared Harper and Theo Pinson in practice settings. However, risking their bedrock pieces such as RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson in intrasquad scrimmages holds no appeal to them.
ESPN reported other teams also prefer staying home for OTAs, but the league won’t allow that. The NBA staged the call to see if the clubs would be willing to send players to a Chicago bubble with safety protocols as stringent as those in Orlando.
A source said the plan is still weeks away from any sort of approval and several more discussions will take place.
Players union president Michele Roberts stated last week that team workouts for the eight non-playoff teams must be done with the same careful consideration to safety as in the Orlando bubble.
“Candidly, while I appreciate that there will be a bit of a layoff, I think there are some things these teams can do to get the guys that are not playing some [benefit] by their not being involved in Orlando,’’ Roberts said. “But unless we could replicate in every way the protocol that’s been established for Orlando, I’d be — I’m being tame now — suspicious.”
ESPN first reported the Chicago bubble plan, noting the 30 teams would split the cost, which figures to be expensive. Already the Orlando bubble is costing the NBA $150 million across three months.
Commissioner Adam Silver said recently the Orlando restart is not saving the league as much revenue as people think because of the heavy expenses of maintaining a bubble with daily COVID-19 testing.
MSG Network will stage “Patrick Ewing Week’’ starting Monday, even showing some of Ewing’s top games from Georgetown.
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