Video: Tom Thibodeau Reacts to Rumors About Knicks, Rockets and Nets HC Jobs

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2020

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 02: Tom Thibodeau of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on during the game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on January 02, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Tom Thibodeau's name has cropped up in rumors regarding several potential NBA coaching vacancies, but the former Bulls and Timberwolves coach is dismissing the talk—at least for now. 

"They're just rumors. That's what it is," Thibodeau said Wednesday on ESPN's First Take. "This time of year everything is on hold. Normally, you would have some openings, and right now there aren't any openings. So you don't want to speculate on what jobs could open, but that's what you have an agent for. He'll certainly look at, if there is an opportunity, whether it'd be a good match or not. 

"I'm still under contract with Minnesota, so I feel like I'm in a position where I can be patient."

Thibodeau was fired by Minnesota midway through the 2018-19 season, halfway through a five-year, $40 million contract. He will be paid by the Wolves through the 2020-21 campaign.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported the Knicks, Nets and Rockets all have interest in potentially hiring Thibodeau. The Knicks and Nets already fired their respective coaches earlier this season, while Mike D'Antoni's contract with Houston expires when the 2019-20 season ends.

Thibodeau already has ties to the Knicks and Rockets, serving as an assistant under Jeff Van Gundy in both organizations. 

The Knicks make some sense on paper given Thibs' ties to the organization, but they'd also be the oddest basketball fit. He was clearly an oil-water mixture with young players like Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota, and the Knicks are in the early stages of a rebuild. While his hard-nosed mentality may be a welcome change for Knicks fans, it may not necessarily be the best match from a long-term organizational perspective.

Thibodeau has an existing relationship with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving from his time as an assistant on Team USA. It's unclear how he would fit given the mercurial personalities of both Nets stars.

Houston would make some sense if the Rockets were looking for a coach with a polar-opposite disposition of the more relaxed D'Antoni. How Thibs' defense-first mentality would mesh with the analytics-driven Rockets front office is another question, but general manager Daryl Morey's job does not appear fully safe for next season.