MIAMI – Throw Heat assistant Juwan Howard’s name into the long list of coaches the New York Knicks are targeting.
Howard and the Knicks could meet this weekend, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN – the Heat have given Howard permission to speak with the Knicks, the Post has learned. Howard, 45, has been on coach Erik Spoelstra’s staff as an assistant for the last five seasons.
Another name on the Knicks head-coaching interview list, per league sources: Heat assistant Juwan Howard. They may meet as soon as this weekend.
The list of candidates since Jeff Hornacek was fired after compiling a 60-104 record in two seasons is long. President Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry reportedly have spoken with former Cavs coach David Blatt, Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga, former Heat assistant and Memphis coach David Fizdale, G League coach Jerry Stackhouse, former Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, former Hawks and Knicks coach Mike Woodson, analyst Kenny Smith and analyst and former Warriors coach Mark Jackson. And they plan to meet with Spurs assistant James Borrego.
Some reports have Blatt and Budenholzer in the lead.
Howard played 19 seasons in the NBA for eight different teams, but never for the Knicks. His last three years were with the Heat where he was a part of the 2012 and 2013 championship teams. He joined the staff immediately after retiring and worked in player development his first season along with being an assistant.
Howard’s only head coaching experience came in the 2016 Summer League where he led the Heat’s teams in Orlando and Las Vegas. Howard’s duties have including working with the Heat’s big men and serving as their defensive coordinator.
Dan Craig was the Heat’s lead assistant coach this season.
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From @ShawnO1362020: Do u think the heat will hire back Fizdale for an assistant job or any job open in the organization?
Fizdale lasted just more than one season in Memphis after signing a four-year, $10.2 million contract, although the fourth year is a team option. The Grizzlies lost in the first round of the 2017 playoffs and have dropped to 7-12 this year after having lost eight straight.
The tipping point, though, was his deteriorating relationship with center Marc Gasol, who Fizdale benched for the fourth quarter of a loss to Brooklyn on Sunday.
Fizdale was a popular figure in Miami during his eight years as an assistant coach, including the Big Three era in which he was part of two titles. The support he received from players he coached during his time in Miami was evident by the reaction over his firing.
I need some answers. Feels like my man was a fall guy
But do not look for Fizdale to return to the Heat any time soon, or maybe ever. First, the Heat have no openings next to Spoelstra with assistants Dan Craig, Juwan Howard and Chris Quinn, who also carries the title of director of player development, on the bench.
Octavio De La Grana sits behind the bench because of the NBA’s limit on assistants allowed to sit next to the head coach. Fizdale could join De La Grana behind the bench but he isn’t about to take that position after spending more than a year as a head coach and also being owed the remainder of his $2 million this season and $3 million next year from the Grizzlies.
The question then becomes what Fizdale decides to do next season. Could an opening occur on the Heat bench for him to return or does he find another job? Look for Fizdale to be back on an NBA bench, but as a head coach.
From: @MiamiVikings: When do you think Bam will get more playing time? I don’t think he’s been horrible & he plays good defense & grabs boards in the minutes he’s given us.
Bam Adebayo has played in 10 games – three starts – this season, averaging 3.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 12.3 minutes and shooting 50 percent. But that playing time has diminished lately and the rookie has not seen action in seven of the last nine games.
Spoelstra has settled into a nice rotation with James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk getting all of the big-man minutes off the bench. He continues to praise Adebayo’s development and says there will be times when he is called upon.
“He’s continuing to work at it, now he has to develop a level of patience that’s required in this league,” Spoelstra said Saturday in Chicago. “It’s a long season. It can feel like it is months when you’re not playing but in reality it’s only a few days, few games.
“I’m not discounting how difficult that is for competitors. He just has to get committed to his player development, being prepared and being ready for the next opportunity when he gets it.”
Summer league head coach Chris Quinn and his staff put the 13-man roster through a mini-camp at the team’s facility in Miami that included five practices in three days.
“Camp has gone really well,” Quinn said Friday. “The three days have been highly competitive, a little different than some summer leagues. We only had 13 bodies. Lots of times we have a little bit more, so guys get a little more rest when they’re not playing.
“But these guys have brought it every day. We’re cramming a lot but they’re soaking it all in. And when we’re competitive in practice, everyone was very competitive.”
The rostersis highlighted by first-round pick Bam Adebayo of Kentucky and Okaro White, the only player who has logged minutes with the Heat.
Adebayo, a 6-foot-10 forward/center who was taken 14th overall, makes his unofficial debut in a Heat uniform Saturday when Miami opens play at the Amway Center Practice Court at 11 a.m. against Charlotte.
Quinn said all 13 players will see significant time throughout the next two weeks that includes at least five games in Orlando before Miami moves onto play in the Las Vegas summer league.
“It will be fluid,” Quinn said. “With only 13 guys, everyone’ll get a chance to play. And that’s what we want to see.
“We’ve proven that guys that don’t play the first game end up playing by the end of the week and those are sometimes the guys that last. So everyone will get a chance to show us what they can do.”
Quinn, and his staff of Juwan Howard, Octavio De La Grana and Eric Glass, certainly have stressed the Heat roster is full of players who came though the organization’s summer leagues, including White, Udonis Haslem, Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder and Willie Reed.
“A big part of our development program is not only with the players it’s with the staff,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Many of us have had an opportunity to get through the summer league program and we’ve all benefited from it.”
Being a successful NBA player does not always mean you’d make a successful NBA executive.
Why? Because for every Pat Riley, there is a Phil Jackson.
Both Riley and Jackson were good NBA players who became great NBA coaches. Both coached the Los Angeles Lakers to multiple NBA championships, and Jackson won 11 rings overall when you include the six he won with the Chicago Bulls.
But they have fared differently in the front office. When comparing their front-office careers, Riley has longevity over Jackson, but it’s fair to say that, so far, the “Zen Master” has nothing to compare to the calming hand “The Godfather” has used to steer the Heat through good and bad times.
And today, Jackson’s time as an executive came to an end when it was reported that he and the Knicks are parting ways. Jackson, 71, likely is done as a top executive given his disastrous run in N.Y.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how they’ve fared:
Became President of Basketball Operations of the New York Knicks in March 2014.
Leaves with the Knicks going 80-166 in his three full seasons as team president, losing at least 50 games in each season.
Hired one of his former players, Derek Fisher — who had recently retired and had no head coaching experience — to coach the Knicks after firing Mike Woodson, who had gone 109-79 in parts of three seasons in New York.
Re-signed Carmelo Anthony in the 2014 offseason to a deal that included veto power over the Knicks trading him without his approval.
In the 2014-15 season, the Knicks set a franchise mark with 16 straight losses and went 17-65, their worst record ever.
Drafted Kristaps Porzingis fourth overall in 2015.
Fired Derek Fisher in Feb. 2016 after a 1-9 stretch left the Knicks with a 23-31 record.
In a surprise move, hired Jeff Hornacek in June 2016 to replace interim coach Kurt Rambis. Hornacek had been fired earlier in the year by Phoenix.
Has used Twitter and other passive-aggressive means to ridicule and undermine Anthony.
Stepped down as head coach of the Heat to turn his full attention to being team president after the 2002-03 season.
Drafted Dwyane Wade fifth overall in 2003.
In 2004, traded Caron Butler, Brian Grant, Lamar Odom and a first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Shaquille O’Neal, who was disgruntled with the Lakers.
Took over as head coach again during the 2005-06 season after he pushed out Stan Van Gundy.
With O’Neal and Wade, the Heat won their first NBA championship in June 2006, defeating the Dallas Mavericks 4-2.
In 2008 after the Heat finished 15-67, Riley stepped down as head coach again but remained team president and promoted Erik Spoelstra to head coach. Spoelstra has proven to be an inspired hire and is now the second-longest-tenured coach in the league behind Gregg Popovich.
In 2010, Riley signed free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh to team up with Wade, forming a trio that would play in four straight NBA Finals and win two championships.
Won the 2011 NBA Executive of the Year award.
Did not re-sign Wade, the face of the franchise, in the summer of 2016, instead opting to rebuild the team around a young core. Miami entered the week with a 24-31 record, but had won 13 of their last 14 despite a roster shortened by injuries to its young stars and made up of castoffs, journeymen and unproven players.
The Miami Heat had just 11 wins in their first 41 games. They have since somehow tallied another 11 wins in 11 tries.
That kind of stunning turnaround — which has pushed the seemingly rebuilding squad to within two games of a playoff spot — will catch people’s attention.
It helped shooting guard Dion Waiters capture January’s final Eastern Conference Player of the Week award. And it’s now earned high praise for longtime skipper Erik Spoelstra.
The two-time champion head coach received an “A” grade for his work this season by Fox Sports.
“The Heat have won 11 in a row, with guys like Rodney McGruder and Luke Babbitt in the starting lineup,” Fox Sports’ Brett Pollakoff wrote. “Any questions?”
Spoelstra’s efforts should be commended.
Before the season started, the Heat lost Dwyane Wade to free agency and Chris Bosh to a failed physical following recurring blood clot issues. Highly touted sophomore Justise Winslow is out for the season after shoulder surgery, while Josh Richardson and Josh McRoberts have both missed significant time to foot injuries.
And still, the Heat have the league’s longest active winning streak, the highest 3-point percentage over that stretch (43.8) and the sixth-ranked defense overall. Spoelstra’s system, acumen and player-development chops have much to do with those feats.
So, an “A” grade is well deserved, even if the assessment scale seemed generous. Seven other coaches received a score at least that high, including Mike D’Antoni of the Houston Rockets and Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks, who both were given an “A-plus.”
Longtime Heat assistant and first-year Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale got a “B-plus.” Former Heat head coach Stan Van Gundy and former Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan each received a “B” for their work with the Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively.
Only one coach graded worse than a “C-minus” — not including Kenny Atkinson of the Brooklyn Nets, who was handed an “incomplete.” That was Dwyane Wade’s new coach Fred Hoiberg, who was tagged with a “D-minus” for overseeing the dysfunctional Chicago Bulls.
NASSAU, Bahamas — The Heat have to find a way to make up for a lot of lost offense.
With Luol Deng, Joe Johnson and Dwyane Wade signing with other teams in free agency and Chris Bosh unable to play, Miami lost four players who combined to account for 44.5 percent of its points last season.
Rob Fodor, who is known as the “Shooting Guy,” will join coach Erik Spoelstra’s staff. Spoelstra has known Fodor for several years. Fodor has worked as a player-development consultant for Spoelstra and was shooting director of Spoelstra’s basketball academy in 2014. He spent 2015 as an assistant with the Seattle Storm of the WNBA.
“He’s as talented as anybody I’ve ever seen in that space,” Spoelstra said. “Really a unique basketball mind.
“I think he’s a great unique addition to our staff. It gives us versatility.”
The staff lost assistant David Fizdale, who left to become head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, and Keith Smart, who joins Fizdale in Memphis.
Juwan Howard and Chris Quinn, two former Heat players, will have greater roles on Spoelstra’s staff. Spoelstra believes both will be head coaches one day.
Dan Craig begins his 14th season in the organization and his first as an assistant coach. Craig started with the Heat as a video intern and last year he was named the NBA Developmental League coach of the year after leading Sioux Falls to the D-League championship.
Octavio De La Grana will be in his first year as an assistant coach/player development. De La Grana is in his 11th year in the organization.
“I feel thankful that we’ve been able to develop these guys that now are stepping in,” Spoelstra said.