Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Daly a Leading Candidate to Get Knicks Coaching Job

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Daly a Leading Candidate to Get Knicks Coaching Job

Article excerpt

A day after Pat Riley's resignation, speculation continued to center on Chuck Daly as a leading candidate to succeed Riley as Knicks coach.

Daly's answering machine was full of messages Friday, but none of those phone calls had come from the Knicks - yet.

"There has been no contact," said Daly, reluctant to talk about the situation when reached by telephone.

"Right now, it's all speculation. People need a name to throw out there, and I'm one of them. I think Don Nelson is also a viable candidate. Then there's Rick Pitino. Although he has denied that he's interested, you never know."

Asked if he would listen if the Knicks called, Daly turned to humor.

"I can't imagine they'd be interested in a guy like me," said Daly, who coached the Detroit Pistons to back-to-back championships. "Here's the deal. They're going to bring Red Holzman out of retirement, and I'm going to be his assistant. I've always wanted to work with Red."

Then Daly laughed. But it makes sense for the Knicks to pick up the phone soon.

While Chris Ford, Nelson, Pitino and John Calipari will likely be contacted by the Knicks as well, Daly makes sense if he can be persuaded to leave his job as a television analyst with Turner Broadcasting.

Daly is a proven winner with experience. He can handle the pressure of coaching in New York. He coached Patrick Ewing, New York's franchise player, as head coach of Dream Team I. And Daly's age would probably not deter the Knicks, a veteran team looking to win a title within the next two years.

Dick Versace, a close friend of Daly's who was one of his assistant coaches with the Pistons, did not rule out Daly's return to coaching.

"I think Chuck's happy in television, but he's as active, as tough and as spry as any 64-year-old guy I've ever known," said Versace. "So never say never."

Meanwhile, Versace, the former coach of the Indiana Pacers who is also a television analyst, confirmed that he would be interested if contacted.

"I have great respect for Dave Checketts," said Versace, speaking of the president of Madison Square Garden.

And another possible candidate, Tom Penders, also said he would be interested. Penders, the head coach at Texas, interviewed for the job four years ago before the Knicks hired Riley, meeting for two days with Checketts and Ernie Grunfeld, the Knicks' general manager.

Vernon Maxwell, who left the Houston Rockets after the first game of the playoffs, still got a share of the championship loot divided up Friday.

Former Rockets forward Otis Thorpe, who was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers on Feb. 14 for Clyde Drexler, also received a share of the prize money.

"Everybody who plays with us this year got some money," Rockets guard Kenny Smith said.

The playoff pool for the champions this year was $1,678,250, but Smith declined to say how many shares the players agreed on and who other than the players got money. …

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