The New York Knicks are in the market for a new head coach after firing Jeff Hornacek Wednesday night. Villanova’s Jay Wright is one name on their wish list, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
The Knicks intend to gauge Wright’s interest in the job and believe him to be an ideal candidate for a rebuilding team, according to Isola. David Blatt, Mark Jackson, and David Fizdale are other candidates connected to the job, according to ESPN.
Would Wright really leave Villanova after winning two national championships in three years? Would the Knicks actually prefer him to the other candidates with more NBA experience? Let’s break down this rumor.
Why it makes sense for each side
There’s no doubting Wright’s Xs and Os chops. Villanova just finished with the second best offensive efficiency rating of any team since 2002. Hiring a college coach worked out pretty well for the Celtics with Brad Stevens, so perhaps the Knicks could find similar success.
From Wright’s perspective, it’s a chance to prove himself at the highest level of the game for one of the league’s marquee franchises. How much more does he really have to prove at Villanova after winning national championships in 2016 and 2018?
There would also likely be a hefty pay raise for Wright involved. He’s currently making $2.5 million at Villanova, which makes him just the 24th highest paid coach in the country. Hornacek was making twice as much to coach the Knicks. If New York threw, let’s say, $6 million per year at him, Wright would have to consider it.
If New York really is fully committed to a rebuild, hiring a coach like Wright to grow with a young roster makes some sense. Related: our latest NBA mock draft has the Knicks taking Villanova wing Mikal Bridges at No. 9.
Why this doesn’t make sense for either side
Wright has it made at Villanova. He’s found a way to turn a small, private school into a new blueblood on his own terms. Villanova can recruit five-star prospects like Jalen Brunson and Omari Spellman, but it can also redshirt and develop lower-ranked players like Bridges and Donte DiVincenzo.
Wright likely has a lifetime of job security at ‘Nova. Would he really trade that in for the pressure of coaching in the NBA, especially for a highly-scrutinized franchise like the Knicks?
While hiring Wright sounds good in theory for the Knicks, there’s also a long list of college coaches who have flamed out in the NBA. There are simply more experienced and better connected candidates to Knicks general manager Scott Perry and president Steve Mills.
Could a shorter version of this article exist?
What are the chances the Knicks actually hire Wright?
We’re going to give this rumor a 3 out of 10. It just doesn’t seem very likely.
The smart money is on Blatt or Fizdale to get this job. Wright will be just find competing for national titles every year at Villanova.