Knicks Rumors: Jason Kidd HC Front-Runner; Tom Thibodeau Contract Talks Stalled

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd works with players before a NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd is reportedly now a front-runner for the New York Knicks' vacant head coaching position.

According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Kidd's front-runner status is due in part to the Knicks' inability to come to terms on a contract with Tom Thibodeau thus far. Knicks owner James Dolan has reportedly been "unwilling" to agree to Thibodeau's contract requests.

However, the New York Post's Marc Berman cited a source who said Thibodeau has a "65 percent" chance to be the hire. 

Prior to his current position as an assistant with the Lakers, Kidd had stints as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks.

The 47-year-old Kidd, who is a Basketball Hall of Famer as a player, began his head coaching career with the Nets in 2013. Kidd led the Nets to a 44-38 record and brought them to the second round of the playoffs that season, but the Bucks acquired his coaching rights after the season.

Kidd was Milwaukee's coach for parts of four seasons and led the Bucks to the playoffs twice, but he was fired after a 23-22 start in 2017-18. Overall, Kidd is 183-190 as an NBA head coach.

As a player, Kidd is best known for his stints with the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and New Jersey Nets, but he does have ties to the Knicks, as his final NBA season in 2012-13 was spent in New York. That also happens to be the most recent season in which the Knicks qualified for the playoffs.

SNY's Ian Begley reported Thursday that the Knicks have interviewed 11 different head coaching candidates via Zoom calls, with each of them interviewing twice.

In addition to Kidd and Thibodeau, the Knicks have reportedly interviewed interim head coach Mike Miller, former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown, Chicago Bulls assistant Chris Fleming, Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley, San Antonio Spurs assistant Will Hardy, Philadelphia 76ers lead assistant Ime Udoka and Orlando Magic assistant Pat Delany.

The Knicks went just 21-45 this season, but they played much better as the year went on. They fired David Fizdale after a 4-18 start and then went 17-27 under Miller.

New York has missed the playoffs in each of the past seven seasons, but with a young core that includes RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina, the potential is there to contend for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference in the near future.