Kenny Payne linked to the Knicks: It’s difficult to imagine leaving Kentucky

Knicks president Leon Rose didn’t bring John Calipari to New York, but he was able to add the Kentucky manager’s right-hand man.

Wildcats Associate Chief Coach Kenny Payne told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the Knicks have expressed interest in hiring him as assistant coach on Tom Thibodeau’s staff. Payne is considering an offer, according to Jeff Goodman of the Stadium.

“All I can say is that it’s not an easy decision,” Payne said. “And hopefully here it will soon be resolved one way or another.”

Payne, who joined Calipari’s staff in 2010 and was promoted four years later, said the Knicks have contacted the Hall of Fame coach for permission to speak with him and have also been in contact with his agent. Rose is Calipari’s former agent at CAA, where Knicks Executive Vice President William “Worldwide Wes'” Wesley also worked.

Leaving Kentucky could be a difficult choice for Payne. His son, Zan, is a sophomore candidate for the Wildcats. The Post reported last week that Payne may not be interested in joining the Knicks.

“This is a unique situation,” Payne said when asked to coach some of college basketball’s top talent. “It’s hard to even imagine leaving Kentucky when you’re in a position like me.”