NBA coaches criticize Fizdale firing: 'He got thrown under the bus'
Multiple NBA coaches came to David Fizdale's defense after he was dismissed as bench boss of the New York Knicks on Friday.
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was particularly bothered by Fizdale's firing after the Knicks' 4-18 start.
"I don't know where the decision was made to fire coach Fizdale, but if it came from the top, it's a case of mistaken identity," Popovich said, according to NBA.com's Michael C. Wright.
"He got thrown under the bus," Popovich added.
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, who worked alongside Fizdale over the course of eight seasons in Miami, echoed Popovich's remarks.
"It's really unfortunate that he wasn't given the time to really do some work," Spoelstra said, per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Ira Winderman. "There's a lot of rolling up your sleeves that has to be done there (in New York). And you have to build a foundation and build a culture and standards. And that's tough to do when you don't have time."
Steve Kerr, who chose to become the Golden State Warriors head coach ahead of the 2014-15 season rather than accept the same position with the Knicks, acknowledged he'd be in a similar spot to Fizdale if he'd made a different decision back then.
"If I had gone to New York, that would've been me like three years ago. I'm well aware of that," Kerr told reporters, including The Athletic's Anthony Slater.
"It takes a really strong organization to help coaches and help players get through difficult times. I'm very blessed to have that group around me here and I know not every coach does. It's a tough league," Kerr added.