Patrick Ewing eyes head coaching job

In the event New York Knicks management decides against retaining interim head coach Mike Woodson in the summer, Patrick Ewing would be interested in returning home.

The former Knicks great and current Orlando Magic assistant said before Wednesday night's game at Madison Square Garden that he's ready and eager to have a team to call his own. But he also believes Woodson is doing an "outstanding job" since taking over for Mike D'Antoni.

"I'd be interested in any job, but this is home, naturally," Ewing told ESPNNewYork.com. "I still have my place here (in New Jersey), and I'd love to interview for any job, here or anywhere.

"I played here. I know the ins and outs of New York, the media, the fans."

Ewing laughed when he mentioned the fans. He was respected and admired as a Knick, but not necessarily beloved. If Ewing ever won the championship as a coach he didn't win as a player, that would change.

"I think I've paid my dues," said Ewing, who was given a standing ovation when his image was shown on the Garden scoreboard during a second-quarter timeout. "I've been an assistant coach for eight, going on nine years, and I'd love to have an opportunity to get an interview.

"I've put in the work. I've learned from a lot of very good coaches in Stan (Van Gundy), Jeff (Van Gundy), and Doug Collins, and I've played for a lot of great coaches. All I need is an opportunity, and once I get that opportunity, hopefully I'll be successful."

Ewing's former boss at the Garden, Dave Checketts, helped land him an interview with Detroit when Checketts served as a Pistons consultant on a search that ended in Lawrence Frank's hiring. Ewing often bristles when asked if he's been unfairly branded as a big man specialist.

"I can coach anybody," he said. "Jeff worked with me when he was an assistant coach, and was he a big man's coach?

"Both Jeff and Stan have done a good job of fighting (for) my cause, and I got that opportunity to interview in Detroit this year. I got my foot in the door, and hopefully I'll get a lot more chances."