Lawrence Frank, who is still a finalist for the Detroit Pistons head coaching gig, has added another potential destination for next season: depending on whether Frank gets the Pistons job, Newsday reports that the Knicks and Frank have mutual interest in making Frank an assistant coach.
Whatever happens in Detroit could trigger Mike D’Antoni’s activity in searching for a defensive assistant coach.
All eyes will be on what happens with the Pistons head coaching position, as the finalists appear to be Mike Woodson and Lawrence Frank.
From what we’ve been hearing, D’Antoni personally likes Frank and there is a strong mutual interest there for many reasons.
First of all, whomever the Knicks hire would have to accept a one-year deal because D’Antoni is going into the final year of his contract and there is some uncertainty about his future. Frank, unlike most, would likely be amenable to accepting a one-year contract because it gives him the freedom to continue to look for head coaching jobs.
Frank might also prefer New York over returning to Boston for proximity reasons, as well, because he could be home full-time in New Jersey, where his wife and two daughters remained last season when he worked for the Celtics.
A move to New York would seem like a lateral move for Frank, at best. But it actually makes a lot of sense from a reputation standpoint. Hear me out.
If Frank stays in Boston, a large portion of his success will undoubtedly be attributed to Tom Thibodeau. Yeah, Frank’s the de facto defensive coordinator now — but he’s still running Thibodeau’s defensive schemes with several of the players Thibodeau molded. Stepping out of Thibodea’s shadow will prove almost impossible as long as Frank stays in Boston.
But in New York, Frank would move into a win-win situation. If the Knicks defense improves, Frank would be viewed as a miracle maker. Anyone who can forge a solid defense out of a starting lineup that includes Chauncey Billups, Carmel0 Anthony and Amare Stoudemire can obviously turn dirt into gold. On the other hand, if the Knicks defense still acts like swiss cheese, nobody would blame Frank — it’s impossible to turn Carmelo Anthony into a decent defender, isn’t it? In the worst-case scenario in New York, Frank’s defense would fail and New York would fall short of preseason expectations. But do you know what could very well be the end result of the “worst-case scenario”? D’Antoni gets fired and Frank probably jumps straight to the top of New York’s head coaching choices.
Of course, trying to coax a championship defense out of New York’s roster is like trying to ride the Tour de France with a tricycle. But if Frank could do it, he’d enhance his reputation in a way he never will in Boston. Even if he doesn’t do it, Frank’s reputation could reap the benefits of moving to the Big Apple.
P.S. – Mike Woodson will interview for the Minnesota Timberwolves lead gig today. If he gets that job, the Pistons would likely hire Frank, their only other finalist.