Friday, May 18, 2012

Ewing closer to first head-coaching gig

With Mike Woodson’s contract being hammered out this week, Patrick Ewing won’t be getting any head-coaching interviews with the Knicks any time soon. But Thursday, the Big Fella moved a step closer to his first head-coaching job when he interviewed for the Bobcats position in Charlotte.

If Ewing is going to land a head-coaching job in the near future, this could be his best shot as the friendship and mutual respect he shares with Bobcats owner Michael Jordan can’t be overstated. The interviews are being conducted by president Rod Higgins and general manager Rich Cho, but Jordan is expected to make the final call.

One person familiar with the situation said this was hardly a courtesy interview, that Ewing has a “good chance’’ of being Paul Silas’ successor.

Ewing completed his fifth season with the Magic and has been an assistant for nine seasons, also serving in Washington and Houston. Ewing has one year left on his Magic pact, but Orlando may part ways with Stan Van Gundy and perhaps the staff. So Ewing could be out of a job soon.

According to a source, Ewing would not be considered for the head job with Orlando and it’s believed his relationship with maligned center Dwight Howard is not as tight as it used to be.

“My goal is to be a head coach,’’ Ewing told The Post in late March when the Magic visited the Garden. “I hope to get interviews everywhere there’s a job open. I think [Mike Woodson] is a fine coach. He’s done an outstanding jobs in the eight games he’s taken over. But any opportunity I get, I’m ready.’’

If Ewing becomes unemployed, the buzz will be for Woodson to bring him aboard, but there’s no indication he is adding to his staff of Darrell Walker, Jim Todd, Herb Williams and Kenny Atkinson.

Former Knicks coach and current ABC broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy, who had Ewing on his Rockets staff, told The Post yesterday, “He has worked hard at the job and significantly improved. ... I think he would do well.’’

If Jeff’s brother, Stan, moves on, Mike D’Antoni is expected to be on the Magic’s short list, according to a source.

Word continues out of the D’Antoni inner circle the former Knicks coach is content sitting out next NBA season unless “ a very compelling opportunity’’ arises. D’Antoni wants to see his son, Michael Jr., graduate high school in Westchester and will get enough satisfaction coaching the U.S. Olympic Team.

The Bobcats position isn’t the most appetizing, having set the record for worst winning percentage in NBA history this season (7-59, .106). That helps Ewing’s chances. Also on the candidate list is Paul Silas’ son, Bobcats assistant Stephen Silas, Warriors assistant Michael Malone, Memphis assistant Dave Joerger and Cavs assistant Nate Tibbetts.

Patrick Ewing, Mike Woodson, Mike Woodson, Knicks, Knicks, Michael Jordan, Stan Van Gundy, Bobcats, Bobcats, Big Fella, Jeff Van Gundy, Mike D’Antoni, Rod Higgins

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