Knicks reportedly hiring Hall of Fame guard to coaching staff

Maurice Cheeks, Knicks
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are making a massive addition to their coaching staff Thursday night, planning to hire Basketball Hall of Famer and longtime coach Maurice Cheeks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Maurice Cheeks has a successful track record in the NBA

Maurice Cheeks, Knicks
Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Cheeks has a strong track record as both a player and a coach. He was an NBA champion with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983 and was also a four-time All-Star while playing with the franchise. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 2018.

After he retired in 1993, Cheeks became an assistant coach with the 76ers one year later and was integral in their run to the NBA Finals in 2001. He has been a coach in some capacity in the NBA circuit ever since his playing days ended.

Cheeks has also been a head coach with three teams: the Portland Trail Blazers from 2001-05, the 76ers from 2005-08, and the Detroit Pistons from 2013-14. He was an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder two separate times, including during their 2012 NBA Finals appearance, and his latest gig was as an assistant with the Chicago Bulls, a position he held since 2020.

The Knicks have some coaching spots to fill

Dec 5, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau gestures towards New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) on the sideline against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first half at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Fred Katz of The Athletic noted that Cheeks and Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau are great friends and that their relationship likely played a factor into the hire. The hire is especially notable given that Knicks assistant coach Johnnie Bryant was recently interviewed by the Cleveland Cavaliers for their vacant head coach job.

It is unclear if the Cheeks hire has any correlation with a potential departure from Bryant, but with some spots for Thibodeau to fill to complete his coaching staff, Cheeks is a strong hire with loads of experience. The Knicks are coming off their best season since the Mike Woodson era, compiling 50 regular season wins and making it to the second round of the postseason despite an absurd amount of injuries to the roster.

With a chance to improve upon a very successful season, the Knicks are now an attractive destination for some of the game’s most respected coaches. Cheeks, a former Knick player himself from 1990-91, now joins Rick Brunson and Othella Harrington as three former Knicks currently on the coaching staff (h/t New York Basketball on X).

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