Last offseason, as he came off quite the turbulent year as assistant coach with Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, Knicks legend Patrick Ewing interviewed with his buddy and Bobcats owner Michael Jordan for the team’s head coaching position.
As Ewing ultimately was not offered the job, he opted to take the year off from coaching. This coincidentally allowed him to rekindle some previously soured Knickerbocker ties, appearing at home games much more often and even working with MSG Network’s post-game crew through a handful of games.
But with a new season comes even better opportunities. With that in mind, Ewing appears poised to catch on with Charlotte’s coaching staff once and for all.
But it won’t be as head coach. The Bobcats (who are soon to officially be renamed the Hornets again shortly) have opted to hire longtime NBA assistant coach Steve Clifford as their new man with a plan.
Clifford’s coaching resume not only includes a successful local run as head coach of Adelphi University, but also periods as an assistant with the Knicks, Rockets, Magic, and most recently, the Lakers. He’s worked for Jeff Van Gundy, Stan Van Gundy, and Mike D’Antoni.
Throughout his time with both Houston and Orlando, Clifford worked closely with Ewing as a fellow assistant. Now that he’ll finally get the opportunity to prove himself as an NBA head coach, Clifford is rumored to be ready to offer Ewing a spot on his staff as top assistant.
Such a position may be not be what the Knicks’ legend ultimately hoped, nor believed, he’d be doing at this point and time, but perhaps working with yet another coach in which he’s familiar with (not to mention, in a friendly and low-pressured atmosphere with Jordan around) is exactly what Ewing needs to get back into the swing of things.
Like many of Jeff Van Gundy’s past assistants (like Clifford and even Tom Thibodeau) have previously proven, maybe an extra extensive proven track record is what’s needed to eventually earn yourself a head coaching gig, whether Ewing likes it or not. The key is just to continue trucking along and working with teams.
In addition to Ewing, the NYDN’s Frank Isola also speculates that former Knicks’ assistant Brendan Malone is likely to be offered a position as well.