ORLANDO, Fla. -- Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing said yesterday he and Bobcats owner Michael Jordan have talked about the Charlotte head-coaching job in the wake of Larry Brown's ouster.
The former Knicks great, who has been with the Magic four seasons and an assistant for eight (Houston, Washington), has been outspoken of his desire to become a head coach, feeling he has put in the time.
Paul Silas was named as an interim coach two weeks ago for the Bobcats but may not be the long-term solution. Sources have said Silas will have to earn a chance to return next season.
If not, "The Big Fella" has a shot.
Asked if Charlotte had called him, Ewing smiled and said, "They might have."
When pressed, Ewing said, "He might have been. I talk to Michael all the time. There definitely was a phone call. It depends on what we talked about."
Whether it was a formal interview, Ewing left unclear. Ewing has not been seriously considered for any head-coaching job, which has been a source of frustration for him, especially when Mark Jackson got job interviews after never having been an assistant.
Ewing, asked if he feels he's getting more consideration, said "I hope."
"It is what it is," he said before the Magic's 112-103 victory. "I'm just going to keep on working. If I get an opportunity, I'll make sure I'm ready for it."
Ewing, who has helped mentor center Dwight Howard into a superstar, has two seasons left on his Magic contract. He has said if he isn't a head coach soon, he would give up coaching.
It would be of great irony if Jordan gave Ewing his crack at being a head coach, because Jordan and the Bulls often denied Ewing winning an NBA championship ring. Ewing and Jordan have been close through the years, and have the same agent, David Falk.
Ewing, who looks slimmer, is heartened to see the Knicks' renaissance after nine straight losing seasons that roughly followed his departure.
"I'm happy for them," Ewing said.
"I'm happy they are doing well. It's been a while coming. The Garden is back to the heyday."
Knicks assistant GM Allan Houston compared Amar'e Stoudemire's arrival as having the same impact as when Ewing arrived after the Knicks won the first NBA Draft lottery, joining a franchise that had been down for so long.
"Even when I came, we were still bad," Ewing said. "But I don't think it will take just one individual. It will take a collective effort. It's a team sport, and they are on the right track."
Ewing likes how the pieces fit around Stoudemire, by far the best Knicks player since Ewing.
"He's playing extremely well, [Raymond] Felton is, [Danilo] Gallinari, [Wilson] Chandler," Ewing said. "They're all playing well. They're a tough team to play. They have him [Stoudemire] on the inside, being very aggressive, and them on the outside knocking down threes, penetrating.
"They complement him, and he complements them."
Ewing said his son, Patrick Jr., who was the Knicks' final cut in training camp, is playing well in the D-League with Reno and had a tryout with the Cavaliers earlier this week.
"I was disappointed, yeah, like any parent," Ewing said of his son getting cut from the Knicks for the second time. "He played well. Flip a coin."
Shawne Williams beat out Ewing Jr., and the former first-round bust has leaped from 15th man into the Knicks' eight-man rotation since early December.