Tom Thibodeau Rumors: Knicks Had Official Interview for HC Vacancy

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2020

File-This Dec. 31, 2018, file photo shows Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau reacting to a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans. A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press that the Minnesota Timberwolves have fired coach Thibodeau, halfway into his third season with the team that began with turmoil surrounding All-Star Jimmy Butler. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, because the Timberwolves had not yet announced the news. The Athletic first reported that Thibodeau, who was also the president of basketball operations with full authority over the roster, had been let go.  (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

The New York Knicks reportedly took another step toward potentially hiring Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach.  

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Knicks formally interviewed the "leading candidate" for the position Thursday. The job is open after New York fired David Fizdale in December and named assistant Mike Miller the interim head coach.

While Thibodeau has a reputation for pushing his players hard and giving them extended minutes, he also has a resume of success.

He was an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, Knicks, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics before becoming the head coach of the Chicago Bulls for five seasons and Timberwolves for three seasons.

The 62-year-old was particularly impressive in Chicago and finished with a 255-139 record while making the playoffs all five years and advancing to an Eastern Conference Finals during a tenure that could have been even more successful if Derrick Rose had remained healthy.

He isn't without competition for the Knicks job, though, as Marc Berman of the New York Post reported some believe Los Angeles Lakers assistant and Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd is "the lone long-shot threat to favorite Tom Thibodeau."

Berman noted Kidd interviewed with the Knicks multiple times and is a possible connection to potential 2021 free agent Giannis Antetokounmpo, who played for the coach on the Milwaukee Bucks from 2014-15 until he was fired in January 2018.

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Kidd finished his time in Milwaukee with a 139-152 record, leading the team to the playoffs twice.

Whether it is Kidd, Thibodeau or someone else, turning around the Knicks will be an imposing ordeal. They have won one playoff series since reaching the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals and finished the 2019-20 campaign with a 21-45 record. It was their seventh consecutive losing season and not good enough to earn an invite to Orlando, Florida, for the season's restart plan.