Knicks Rumors: Some Front Office Members Wanted Tom Thibodeau Fired at All-Star Break

Erin WalshApril 11, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks reacts during the first half against the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden on April 06, 2022 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The New York Knicks had an incredibly disappointing 2021-22 campaign, finishing 11th in the Eastern Conference under second-year head coach Tom Thibodeau, who reportedly began generating dissatisfaction among some members of the front office midway through the season. 

At least two front-office executives wanted Thibodeau to be fired at the All-Star break in February, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. They thought he had "lost the team" at that point.

Additionally, a source told Berman that the front office and some players "weren't thrilled" with how Thibodeau failed to hold Julius Randle more accountable. After a breakout 2020-21 campaign, the 27-year-old was inconsistent this season, averaging 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists while shooting 41.1 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent from deep in 72 games. He also displayed his frustrations in interactions with fans and officials.

Knicks president Leon Rose was not among the executives that wanted to part ways with Thibodeau, a source told Berman. He also reaffirmed his commitment to Thibodeau during a recent interview on MSG Network. 

“As far as Thibs’ performance goes … he’s one of the best coaches in the NBA," Rose said. "Obviously none of us are happy with the results this year. But he’s a guy who prepares our team better than anybody, and I feel that he’s done a good job under the circumstances”

The Knicks took a significant step backward this season, finishing with a 37-45 record. It was a frustrating finish after the team finished fourth in the Eastern Conference last season and made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

A lot went wrong, and the additions of Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier didn't necessarily pan out. 

The 2021-22 season was one of Walker's worst in the NBA. He averaged 11.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 40.3 percent from the floor and 36.7 percent from deep in 37 games. The Knicks and the veteran guard eventually agreed to sideline him for the remainder of the year in February. 

As for Fournier, he also took a step backward, averaging just 14.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 41.7 percent from the floor and 38.9 percent from deep in 80 games. 

Now that the Knicks' season is over, the team can focus on making improvements through free agency and the draft.