In July, it was reported that Kentucky Wildcats associate head coach Kenny Payne was running for an assistant job with the New York Knicks.
On Friday, Adam Zagoria confirmed that report and noted that Payne was still in the running for the job, and someone emerged as a replacement if Payne left.
Payne’s potential replacement is Bruiser Flint.
Flint has more than 30 years of experience as a coach and is a longtime friend of John Calipari who had Flint as an assistant during his time at UMASS. Flint spent 20 years as D1 head coach at UMASS (1996-2001) and Drexel (2001-16) where he won 331 games.
He was named Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year (2002, 2004, 2009, and 2012) and NABC District Coach of the Year (1998, 2007, 2009, and 2012) four times each.
Kentucky Sports Radio reported that the Knicks are interested in Payne not only for his ability to develop big elites, but for the recruiting potential of former Kentucky stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker when they become free agents.
It was initially reported that Payne would only be an option if they decided to hire 10-time NBA All-Star Jason Kidd as head coach. However, it looks like it’s still an option now that the Knicks have hired Tom Thibodeau.
It would be a big loss for the Cats if Payne decided to leave, as evidenced by today’s SEC aide ranking, where Payne came in at number 1.
You might even think Payne wouldn’t want an NBA job if he wants to become a head coach soon. You don’t see many NBA assistants hired to be college coaches, but maybe Payne thinks he might one day get an NBA coaching job.