In his latest piece for the New York Daily News, Mitch Lawrence says there are rumors around the Bulls’ camp that Tom Thibodeau might have a deal in place to become the head coach of the Knicks next season.
Thibodeau was an assistant coach in New York from 1996-2001 and is represented by CAA, Knicks owner James Dolan’s favorite agency. Lawrence is quick to note that Thibodeau is under contract through the 2016/17 season, and a regular season transition is extremely unlikely because there would be a major tampering case that might prevent Thibodeau from returning to New York at all. Doc Rivers proved last summer that coaches under contract can be shipped to another squad for the right price, and after the season ends, Thibodeau will be a viable candidate to land a job leading the Knicks.
Lawrence hears from league sources that Thibodeau was “kept in the dark” about certain details during the development of the Luol Deng trade, namely when Deng was being shipped and where he was heading. Since Deng was one of Thibodeau’s favorite players, withholding these details surely rubbed him the wrong way. Plus, we heard last week that Thibodeau wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of rebuilding, and the Deng deal certainly indicates the Bulls are interested in changing the core of their team. It’s possible that the club might want to reshape itself and form a new identity that doesn’t include Thibodeau.
Of course, Mike Woodson would need to be fired by the Knicks before any of these rumors could come to life, and right now he’s under contract through the end of the 2014/15 season. It’s worth mentioning that Dolan spoke out and gave Woodson his full support in late November. However, no one from upper management has spoken publicly on Woodson’s job status since then, leaving some to speculate that he’s on the hot seat. These are only rumors right now, but it doesn’t seem out of the question that Thibodeau might land a job with New York sometime in the not-so-distant future.