The New York Knicks are beginning their search for a new head coach and, according to The Athletic, have a familiar name atop their wish list. Yes, Tom Thibodeau is apparently the team's preferred choice at the moment.
From the report by Shams Charania and Mike Vorkunov:
"The New York Knicks and president of basketball operations Leon Rose will soon embark on the search process for a new head coach and Tom Thibodeau is atop the list of targets, sources told The Athletic. The Knicks are believed to be targeting a decision in the next few weeks, sources said."
Oh man, would this be a disaster.
Thibodeau spent seven-plus years as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves. In that time he put together a record of 352-246 (.589) and took his teams to the playoffs in six of the seven full seasons he coached. While he had on-court success, there was drama with both teams as he was repeatedly accused of overworking his players. Jimmy Butler famously demanded a trade from the Timberwolves largely due to his deteriorating relationship with his head coach.
Thibodeau was a Knicks assistant from 1996 to 2003, so this would mark a homecoming of sorts.
Mike Miller took over as the Knicks' interim coach this year after David Fizdale was fired following a 4-18 start. New York went 17-27 under Miller before play was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 55-year-old Miller ran the G-League's Westchester Knicks from 2015 through 2019 and was named G-League Coach of the Year in 2018. He is well-respected inside the franchise after a few years of service. Miller could always wind up with the full-time job, but it appears the Knicks are aiming for a bigger name.
It's fair to say Thibodeau is not a "players' coach" and that could hamper New York's ability to attract free agents. He works players extremely hard and his teams have seemed to wear down at the end of seasons. Given how popular load management has become, grinding players down isn't a recipe for success in the modern NBA.
There's a long way to go in this coaching search and former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson also has a chance at it, so this isn't a done deal. We'll see what the Knicks wind up doing, but this will be a massive hire for new team president Leon Rose. A Thibodeau hire would signal to the rest of the NBA that Rose doesn't know what he's doing.