Knicks assistant Kenny Payne has officially been hired as the new head coach of the University of Louisville’s men’s basketball team, the program announced Friday in a press release. Payne received a six-year deal and will make $3.35M annually, with his new contract going into effect on Monday, per Brett Dawson of the Louisville Courier-Journal.
During Payne’s introductory press conference on Friday, Louisville athletic director Josh Heird thanked Knicks management, noting that the team didn’t want to lose Payne but understood the hiring was “bigger than basketball” (Twitter link via Dawson).
Payne, meanwhile, said that he and Knicks executives Leon Rose and William Wesley have been crying “six, seven times a day” within the last little while about his decision to leave the team (Twitter link via Dawson).
“We are beyond thrilled for Kenny Payne that he will have the opportunity to coach his alma mater, Louisville,” Rose said in a statement issued by the Knicks. “We wish him nothing but the best and thank him for his contributions over the past two seasons.”
Here’s more on the Knicks:
- With RJ Barrett set to become extension-eligible for the first time this offseason, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News wonders if the former No. 3 overall pick has earned maximum-salary consideration or at least something close to it. For his part, Barrett said that getting a long-term commitment from the Knicks has long been a goal for him. “I’ve been trying to play my butt off and do everything out there to achieve that,” he said.
- In addition to not seeing any more game action this season, Kemba Walker isn’t around the Knicks at all and isn’t working with team trainers, head coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed this week. A source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that Walker is doing some of his training in New York and some in his former home of Charlotte, where his mother still lives.
- Derrick Rose (ankle) still hasn’t received clearance to practice, creating uncertainty about whether he’ll be back before the end of the regular season, Berman writes in the same New York Post story.
- While Evan Fournier‘s first season in New York hasn’t been a huge success, the Frenchman is on track to set a franchise record, Berman observes in a separate New York Post article. With 201 made three-pointers this season and 13 games left to play, Fournier is just 17 threes away from passing John Starks and establishing a new single-season Knicks record.