Diller was savvy enough to hire Bianchi, who in turn was savvy enough to hire Pitino. Coach and general manager clashed a few weeks ago after Bianchi objected to Pitino's criticism of rookie Strickland's play, but it was nothing more than a couple of egos battling for position under the boards. It happens. Bianchi and Pitino are both ferocious competitors, and all that either of them wants is a winner.
And perhaps this is the year. Pitino's sentiments about getting out of the pro game could change, one supposes, but it's not likely, and the wonders he's working in New York right now could not be duplicated year after year with team after team. Pitino is not a Pat Riley, who enjoys the daily challenge of motivating men who have done it all. He prefers to take a lump of clay, mold it in his image, put it on display and then dig his fingers into another. Rick's Knicks are more flash dance than long, slow waltz, and their ascent has been unique and fascinating.
And maybe, because of Pitino's impatience and the young legs his brand of basketball requires, it had to happen this quickly to happen at all.