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Patrick Ewing makes pitch for why he should coach Knicks

Patrick Ewing once again makes his case why he should coach in the NBA, specifically the Knicks.Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images

Patrick Ewing once again makes his case why he should coach in the NBA, specifically the Knicks.

In between the hugs and embraces that will forever come at the Garden, Patrick Ewing wondered why, despite over a decade as a successful assistant, he hasn’t been offered a head position.

Then he stumped for the job with the most sentimental value.

“You know, this is a great fit for me. I have my number up there (in the Garden rafters). I still live in the area,” Ewing said. “If I get an opportunity for an interview I’d be happy.”

Ewing, 53, is currently the lead assistant with the Hornets under Steve Clifford, having served in a similar role with four different NBA teams.

The Knicks didn’t call Ewing before hiring first-year head coach Derek Fisher in 2014, and they’re not expected – at least not as long as Phil Jackson is in charge – to give him a look after this season. Four years ago, Ewing declined a chance to become the coach of the Knicks’ D-League team – an offer which, at the time, his former teammate Charles Oakley called “embarrassing” and “a Kindergarten job” in an interview with the Daily News.

“I’ve been doing this, what, 13 years now? I see people who don’t have the same amount on their resume as I do and still have gotten opportunities,” Ewing said Wednesday before the Knicks hosted the Hornets. “It is what it is. All I can do is continue to work, continue to get better at my craft, and hopefully one day somebody will give me an opportunity and I’ll show that I’m ready.”

Phil Jackson is likely to go with one of his 'triangle guys' as the Knicks' coach next season.Richard Harbus/for New York Daily News

Phil Jackson is likely to go with one of his ‘triangle guys’ as the Knicks’ coach next season.

Jackson’s preference is to give interim coach Kurt Rambis the full-time position next season, even though it’d be an unpopular move for a fanbase that has endured a 48-112 record since the start of 2014-15. Jackson’s coaching tree, dictated by the triangle, has sprouted losing coaches like Jim Cleamons and Brian Shaw, whereas the Pat Riley/Jeff Van Gundy tree – the one attached to Ewing – has been more successful with Tom Thibodeau, Erik Spoelstra, Stan Van Gundy and Clifford.

Thibodeau is the only free agent in that latter group, and owns a strong record during his time with the Bulls that should make him an intriguing candidate for the Knicks. Except it’s an unlikely hire because he lacks the connection to Jackson or the triangle.

Clifford, who was an assistant alongside Thibodeau with the Knicks during their run to the Finals in 2000, said he expects his former colleague to field multiple offers and coach again next season.

“He loves the game. He loves the NBA. He’s a brilliant basketball coach,” said Clifford, who hosted Thibodeau at Hornets practices this season. “He’ll be a better coach for wherever he goes next year even than he was last year. And you can make the argument in the time he’s been in the league, look he’s been one of the best two or three coaches. And I guarantee you he’s grown this year.”

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