The New York Knicks have reportedly started a list of candidates to fill their vacant head coaching position, and according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, former Minnesota Timberwolves head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau is at the top of that list.
Thibodeau, who was fired by the Timberwolves in January 2019, would be replacing David Fizdale. Fizdale was fired in December after leading the Knicks to a 4-18 start, just 19 months into a four-year contract. The Knicks’ start was so horrendous that Thibodeau was being mentioned as a candidate for the job even before Fizdale was officially fired.
The Knicks have not confirmed that they’re considering Thibodeau. Neither has Thibodeau, probably because saying “I would like to coach the Knicks” is rightly considered a cry for help. The Knicks have had five head coaches since 2015, seven total in the last 10 years, and another six in the decade before that. Not even Spinal Tap replaced their drummers at that rate.
Knicks owner James Dolan, who operates his basketball team like the world’s worst puppeteer, is famously over-involved with the Knicks. He’s been criticized for his poor decision-making and constant micromanaging, making the Knicks head coaching job one of the least desirable in all of sports. There is a little hope, though, as Dolan has cleaned house this season and is appearing to cede some control to new team president Leon Rose.
If Thibodeau (and his 352-246 coaching record) wants the job, his history with the Knicks should only help. He was an assistant with the team from 1996 to 2003, but these Knicks are a lot different than the teams he coached with the Chicago Bulls and Timberwolves. They’re one of the NBA’s worst teams, and their lack of an established superstar only compounds the challenge of turning them into a functional, winning team. (Or even just a functional team.)
In addition to Thibodeau, the Knicks are also reportedly considering current interim coach Mike Miller and former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson for the job. SNY’s Ian Begley reported that the Knicks aren’t planning to conduct any interviews while the NBA season is suspended.
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