National Basketball Association
Knicks Close to Hiring Thibodeau
National Basketball Association

Knicks Close to Hiring Thibodeau

Updated Jul. 25, 2020 5:01 p.m. ET

The New York Knicks are close to finalizing a 5-year deal with Tom Thibodeau to become the franchise's newest head coach. 

Thibodeau will become the Knicks' 30th head coach in franchise history. He will replace David Fizdale, who served as head coach for the 2018-2019 season and for the first 22 games of the 2019-2020 season before he was fired.

The Knicks were 21-83 under Fizdale.

This is the first coaching hire the Knicks have made since Leon Rose took over as New York's President of Basketball Operations in March.


Thibodeau served as an assistant coach for the 2008 Boston Celtics championship team before he was hired as the Chicago Bulls head coach in 2010. Just a year later, he was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2011, and he led the Bulls to the playoffs every year of his tenure, from 2010 to 2015.

Thibodeau was released by the Bulls after the 2014-15 season and was hired as the Minnesota Timberwolves' head coach and president of basketball operations in April of 2016. He led the franchise to the playoffs in the 2017-2018 season, their first playoff appearance since 2004.

However, he spent less than three seasons with the Timberwolves before he was released by the franchise, and now, he will be tasked with trying to lead the Knicks back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Thibodeau's career record as a head coach is 352-246.

FOX Sports NBA analyst Ric Bucher weighed in on the hire for New York, expressing some concern over how Thibodeau's tough-nut coaching style will mesh with a young Knicks team. 

“Thibs will bring focus and discipline, but hopefully he learned from his Minnesota experience that coaching young players is different than vets. The sideline sneers and constant pained expressions grow old. Perception is reality and the perception was that nothing was good enough. The Knicks need someone to hold them accountable but also understand where the team is in its evolution.”

Skip Bayless expressed similar concerns.

As currently constructed, the Knicks only have two players over 30 – Taj Gibson (35) and Wayne Ellington (32). Their returning leading scorers from last season are Julius Randle (25), R.J. Barrett (20) and Bobby Portis (25). Other key pieces include Elfrid Payton (26), Dennis Smith Jr. (22), Frank Ntilikina (21) and Kevin Knox (20).

However, FOX Sports NBA analyst Chris Broussard is more concerned about what the hire means for Thibodeau's career, as opposed to what the hire means for the Knicks.

“I have a phrase I use to describe the Knicks: it’s where legends go to die! Lenny Wilkes, Larry Brown, Phil Jackson, Isiah Thomas - Hall of Famers, all of them - each failed miserably and famously in New York. And that’s not to mention Mike D’Antoni, who’s been one of the best coaches of this era elsewhere."

According tor reports, the Knicks are preparing to fill out the rest of the coaching staff with former head coach Mike Woodson and interim head coach Mike Miller.

Woodson served as the Knicks head coach from 2011-2014, leading the franchise to the postseason twice in that span.

This is a developing story.


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