Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Warriors coach Steve Kerr are glad they don’t work for the Knicks.
New York fired David Fizdale on Friday following an embarrassing 129-92 loss to the Nuggets at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, pushing the team’s losing streak to eight straight games. Responding to Fizdale’s departure, Popovich slammed the Knicks.
“I don’t know where the decision was made to fire coach Fizdale, but if it came from the top, it’s a case of mistaken identity,” Popovich said (via The New York Post). “He’s a fine, talented young coach with a great pedigree, and it’s ridiculous to think you’re gonna bring in a young guy and after being there a minute-and-a-half, you expect him to fix everything that’s been wrong there for a long time.
“That’s pretty unfair. It’s an old analogy. He got thrown under the bus. He’ll come out of it because he’s a great coach.”
The Knicks wanted to hire Kerr in 2014, but he opted for the Warriors. Three championships later, Kerr is pleased with the decision he made five years ago.
“If I had gone to New York, that would’ve been me like three years ago. I’m well aware of that,” Kerr told reporters as he reacted to Fizdale’s departure. “That’s just the way it goes. I think I made the right choice.”
Kerr’s Warriors (5-19) are the second-worst team in the NBA this season ahead of only the Knicks (4-18). Golden State lost Kevin Durant in free agency and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to significant injuries, so Kerr understands how quickly a coaching job can change.
“As we know in this business it’s extremely fragile,” Kerr said. “Your job is dependent on a lot of things when you’re a coach in this league. No. 1, probably, the talent you coach, but just as important, the strength of the organization and the group around you. It takes a really strong organization to help coaches and help players get through difficult times.
“I’m very blessed to have that group around me here. I know not every coach does. It’s a tough league.”
Steve Kerr on David Fizdale’s firing and the occasional what if, on days like today, as in: What if he took the Knicks job instead of the Warriors one? “That would’ve been me three years ago.” pic.twitter.com/W7Rrc3TTcF
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 6, 2019
Fizdale — who has been replaced by assistant Mike Miller on an interim basis — was appointed in 2018 and leaves the Knicks with a 21-83 overall record.