Patrick Ewing sees LeBron James in Cleveland
BOSTON – Patrick Ewing’s one-word response to any questions regarding a
certain big-name free agent is quite telling.
"Cleveland," is Ewing’s standard answer.
Clearly, Ewing is not about to risk paying a hefty fine for speaking
about LeBron James’ future plans. Instead, Ewing made it clear that the
home team has an advantage because James can make more money if he
re-signs with the Cavs.
"The league designed it that way," Ewing added. "If you stay you can
make $30 million more. And if you already have a good team, why leave?"
The Knicks, Ewing’s former club, are hoping that James does leave money on the table to come to New York this summer and end the team’s streak of nine straight losing seasons. Ewing lives by the credo of "once a Knick always a Knick," but he won’t campaign, sway or advise James on what his next move should be because as an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic, Ewing’s loyalty lies with his current employer.
Plus, Ewing is concentrating on his next career move. He is hoping to become a head coach one day but as of now the Hall of Fame center would settle for an interview, something he feels he’s earned.
"I’m hoping," Ewing added. "With all these jobs that are available, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Hopefully, I can get my foot in the door.
"I’ve been an assistant for seven years now and I haven’t had one head coaching interview. I’m doing something wrong."
There are vacancies in New Jersey, New Orleans, Chicago, Atlanta and with the Clippers, but Ewing hasn’t received a nibble. He hired noted coaching agent Lonnie Cooper to help land him a job and he has a strong advocate in Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy, who can’t understand why Ewing has been shut out.
"I don’t get it," Van Gundy said. "He’s worked for Doug Collins, Jeff (Van Gundy) and with me, and all of those teams have had success. He works hard, he knows the game and no one ever says anything bad about the guy.
"I hear of some of the other names being mentioned, and they are all good candidates, but some of them haven’t been doing it for as long as Patrick and their teams haven’t been as successful as us. I wish I knew the reason."
Ewing wonders if there is a built-in bias against big men since many ex-players turned coaches are usually point guards. But Stan Van Gundy compares Ewing to Larry Bird, a legendary player turned coach, who when he took over the Indiana Pacers "had instant credibility" in the locker room.
Ewing believes he’s grown as a coach and put in the time to be taken seriously. Instead, he’s seeing many of his friends and former teammates land interviews.
Boston’s Tom Thibodeau is scheduled to get a second interview with the Hornets and is believed to be a strong candidate with the Nets and Bulls. Portland’s Monty Williams, Ewing’s teammate in New York, is also being considered for the Hornets while Ewing’s long-time friend, Mark Jackson, will likely receive consideration from the Nets and Clippers.