The Knicks might attempt to pry Tom Thibodeau out of his contract from the Bulls, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who gets the sense that current Knicks head coach Mike Woodson will only last until owner James Dolan can find a splashy replacement. Soon-to-be free agent Carmelo Anthony wouldn’t object to the move, Stein also hears. Thibodeau, like Anthony, is a client of the Creative Artists Agency, a firm with close ties to the Knicks.
Thibodeau has two seasons remaining on his deal with Chicago, but he’s reportedly feuding with Bulls GM Gar Forman. It would nonetheless be hard to convince the Bulls to let him go, Stein writes, but the ESPN scribe figures the Knicks stand a better chance of pulling that off than they do of landing marquee names like John Calipari, Phil Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Stan Van Gundy.
The Knicks are also apparently considering assistant GM Allan Houston as a possible replacement for Woodson. Houston played for the Knicks when Thibodeau was an assistant coach for the team. Perhaps Houston could serve as an interim if the Knicks decide to replace Woodson during the season, with a pursuit of Thibodeau happening in the summer, but that’s just my speculation.
Coaching transactions between teams are rare, but the Knicks once received compensation for letting Pat Riley go to the Heat, and this summer’s Doc Rivers swap is the most recent example. The Celtics acquired a 2015 first-round pick in exchange for letting Rivers out of his deal so the Clippers could hire him, but the earliest first-rounder the Knicks can surrender is their 2018 pick. The NBA prohibits teams from exchanging players for coaches, so it would indeed be difficult for the Knicks to bring Thibodeau back to Madison Square Garden.