Morning Knicks 8/12: Knicks Hire Kenny Payne to Be Assistant Coach, DSJ's Future, and More
-It's official: ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Knicks have hired Kentucky's Kenny Payne to be an assistant coach on Tom Thibodeau's staff. Payne becomes the first new assistant, although former Knicks' head coaches Mike Woodson and Mike Miller are also expected to join the group. Payne's success at Kentucky, rave reviews, and connections within the NBA should fit perfectly in New York with Leon Rose and Payne's friend William Wesley. John Calipari had put out a statement about how lucky the Knicks are to be getting Payne, and former Wildcat Kevin Knox was thrilled about the hiring on his birthday. You can read more about the major coaching move from our own Kris Pusiainen. You can also check out other writers' thoughts on the Payne hire, like SNY's Danny Abriano and Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Bondy also reported that Payne will earn more than $1.5 million next year, making him one of the higher-paid assistants in the NBA.
-With the new regime of Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau in place, some current Knicks' players could be on the chopping block. One player whose fate is very much up in the air is Dennis Smith Jr. The mercurial guard has yet to put it together in the NBA, and it's now or never. Marc Berman of The New York Post discussed Smith Jr.s' future in his latest mailbag and whether the former N.C. St. product will have one last chance to succeed in New York. Berman also answered questions about how certain potential draft picks and current players could fare under Thibodeau.