NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Knicks HC Search, Timberwolves Sale, Zach LaVine

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers coach Jason Kidd during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

While the top 22 teams in the NBA prepare for the league's restart bubble in Florida, plenty is also going on off the court. The New York Knicks, for example, aren't part of the bubble but have been extremely active in recent weeks.

The Knicks have been conducting a head-coaching search essentially ever since Leon Rose first took over as team president. It's been an exhaustive hunt that has included names like Mike Brown, Mike Woodson, Jason Kidd and Tom Thibodeau.

Thibodeau has long been considered the favorite for the job to the point that some around the league have expressed skepticism that this is really an open search, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

While an unnamed source recently gave Thibodeau a "65 percent chance" of landing the job, per Marc Berman of the New York Post, Kid has come on as a strong sleeper.

One factor that appears to be working in Thibodeau's favor is a willingness to give Rose and the front office input on the coaching staff.

As Berman recently explained, Thibodeau is willing to embrace a new-wave way assembling a staff:

"In this new era, the basketball operations staff has taken a lead role in constructing a coach's staff. Knicks president Leon Rose said last month he wants a coach who 'will be collaborative with the front office.' ... Despite Thibodeau's past whims, sources tell The Post he is wide open to change. It does not appear to be an issue."

While the search may largely be down to Thibodeau and Kidd at this point, New York has not extended any contract offers, according to SNY's Ian Begley.

Per Begley, a decision is likely to be made before the end of July.


Timberwolves Sale

Like the Knicks, the Minnesota Timberwolves are not part of the restart bubble. They also happen to be for sale. However, current owner Glen Taylor has made it clear that the Timberwolves won't be leaving Minnesota anytime soon.

"I made it very clear that that's not one of the options," Taylor said, per Jeff Wald of Fox 9 KMSP. "It's not a price deal at all. It's going to stay in Minnesota, and it will be in the negotiations that it has to stay here in Minnesota."

While there shouldn't be a question of where the Timberwolves will play for the foreseeable future, there is uncertainty surrounding who might purchase the team.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, former Minnesota standout Kevin Garnett headlines one group that is preparing a bid. According to Pat Graham and Dave Campbell of the Associated Press, a group led by former NBA player Arron Afflalo is also in the mix.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Wilf Family, which owns the Minnesota Vikings, was in on the Timberwolves early on. However, Chris Hine and Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported that there are no "active talks" between the Wilfs and Taylor.

According to Schefter, real estate developer Meyer Orbach is also interested in buying the franchise.

It will be interesting to see if other celebrity-led groups materialize as Taylor gets deeper into the selling process. 


Knicks, Nets Interested in Zach LaVine

Chicago Bulls point guard Zach Lavine is under contract through the 2021-22 season. The only way he's leaving Chicago before then is via a trade. 

However, this isn't stopping teams like the Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets from researching LaVine, in case the UCLA product decides to ask for a trade before free agency kicks off in October.

"It's worth noting that both the Knicks and the Nets are among the teams who have been monitoring LaVine’s situation in Chicago," Begley recently wrote. "Per SNY sources, both teams have done background work on LaVine to be prepared for the possibility that Chicago ends up listening to trade offers on the 25-year-old guard."

While there hasn't been any definitive buzz on LaVine wanting out of Chicago, it's not hard to think that he may want more than a slam dunk championship—and that the 22-43 Bulls won't be title contenders before his contract expires in 2022.