Somehow, despite a world of unbelievably misguided trades and draft pick transactions over the past 5-7 years, the New York Knicks find themselves within striking distance. Not striking distance of being a contender, per se, but certainly of the playoffs. A solid off-season, in which they acquired veteran shooting guard Aaron Afflalo, sturdy center Robin Lopez and a former #2 pick in Derrick Williams, who has developed into a dependable offensive option off the bench, was a good start. Then, drafting Kristaps Porzingis–who probably had a better year on both ends of the floor of all rookies not named Karl Anthony-Towns–and former Notre Dame standout Jerian Grant in last summer’s NBA Draft, added youth and two very high ceilings to New York’s rotation. Believe it or not, Phil Jackson’s presence was felt immediately, and despite Carmelo Anthony‘s frustrations, the Knicks are on the up-and-up.


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However, there is still a glaring hole in the organization, and that’s at the head coaching position. Since the departure of Mike Woodson, the last head coach to lead the Knicks to the playoffs in 2013, the Knicks have handed the reigns over to first-time head coach Derek Fisher–an experiment that went up in flames midway through this past season–and Kurt Rambis, who took over for Fisher after his firing. Neither coach showed Phil anything to write home about, meaning this off-season will be a pivotal one for Phil. Who will be the candidate to lead his crop of young players and New York’s $129 million superstar, Carmelo Anthony, to the promised land?

It could be Luke Walton. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Golden State Warriors, despite being in the middle of defending their NBA Champion status in this year’s playoffs, have given Phil Jackson permission to speak with Luke Walton, his former player and assistant coach, about being the Knicks next head coach.

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If Knicks president Phil Jackson wanted to talk to Warriors stud assistant Luke Walton during their expected long playoff run, Golden State would not stand in the way, according to an NBA source.

Golden State’s position is that an assistant can interview for a head-coaching position “as long as it does not interfere with the team’s preparation during the playoffs,’’ the source said. For instance, an interview would need to happen in the Oakland, Calif., area at a convenient time with the club enjoying a couple of days off.

Chances are, at least until the second round, Luke Walton shifting his focus to dealing with the teams clamoring for a chance to speak with him won’t interfere with Golden State’s playoff preparation. Especially considering the 26-point whooping they handed to Houston yesterday, in which Stephen Curry didn’t even clock 20 minutes.

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