clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Revisiting Patrick Ewing's Decision to Reject Knicks' NBA D-League Coaching Gig

New, 3 comments

The Knicks television network announced that Patrick Ewing would be joining its post-game coverage later this month. The reunion has been a long time coming, but New York also previously reached out to the Big Fella with a D-League gig. Was rejecting it the right move?

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The MSG Network, the television home of the Knicks, announced on Wednesday that team legend Patrick Ewing would be joining the network's post-game coverage for two games later this month.

Such a reunion has been years in the making, but although it took the franchise a while to open its doors to the Big Fellas, the new gig technically wasn't the first one Ewing was offered by New York.

When Ewing found himself out of work following the Magic's cleansing of their coaching staff, the Knicks reached out with a unique, yet underwhelming job offer. Though the organization did fill a couple of assistant coaching spots on its NBA team this offseason, the opportunity offered to the big man was a bit different.

The Knicks instead offered Ewing the chance to take over as head coach of the Erie BayHawks, New York's D-League squad. The job was offered to the legend by former teammate Allan Houston, who serves as the NBADL squad's General Manager.

According to reports, however, Ewing felt slighted and was "insulted" by the offer. Citing a desire to stay in the NBA, he declined.

The job offer may not have been the most appealing of olives branches, but it was an olive branch nevertheless. Seven months later, and Ewing is still nowhere to be found coaching on the sidelines. Was his rejection the right decision?

The D-League continues to make strides each and every season. Naturally, the league has seemed to make the most progressive of strides so far this year. Continuing to develop a seamless connection between minor league teams and their parent NBA affiliates, the D-League has proven such a cooperative environment can be a beneficial one for all squads involved.

In all fairness, that may have been difficult for someone to see in retrospect while standing on the outside looking in. Nevertheless, the BayHawks' coaching staff has been known to collaborate with Knicks' coach Mike Woodson and his staff often this season. They've shown up at practices, have conferenced with Woodson multiple times, and Head Coach Gene Cross speaks with Houston almost on a daily basis.

Given that Houston has dual roles, it's easy to understand how the organizations' goals go hand in hand with one another. They work towards putting forth a joint effort with similar aspirations, as opposed to two completely separate efforts.

With this all in mind, perhaps Ewing would have reaped some interesting benefits from the job. After years of failing to re-join the Knickerbocker family, he would have been in constant contact with his former team's front office as coach of the BayHawks. What's more, he would've had the potential to play a huge role in the development in the organization's more promising young guns and/or aspiring future Knicks.

In addition to simply getting back into the fold, there's no denying Ewing would have been poised to snag another NBA gig next season, be it with the Knicks or somebody else. Perhaps his immense amount of experience, both as a coach or a player, may help him do that regardless, though.

Former NBA players like Reggie Theus and Eduardo Najera both went on to accept head coaching jobs in the D-League this past season. Though admittedly, neither has the notoriety that Ewing owns, it just proves that fellow former players not only believe in the gig, but also value the relationship and bond that can be formed with their NBADL team's big league affiliate. The minor league teams are truly becoming simply an extension of the respective NBA teams.

Ewing may not have been able to make the connection at the time. Nevertheless, the opportunity to once again don orange and blue (metaphorically, of course) in some form should have been enough to peak his curiosities.