Former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy believes the organization is making the right choice in Tom Thibodeau, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Thibodeau, who is close to finalizing a five-year agreement with the team, was brought to New York as an assistant by Van Gundy in 1996.
“I’m extremely happy for Tom and equally happy for the Knicks as they hired an elite coach who will give everything he has to turn the Knicks around,” the ABC/ESPN broadcaster said.
New York began its search June 4 and talked to 11 candidates. However, many were considered to be courtesy interviews as Thibodeau was reportedly a strong favorite all along. Berman points out that five of the candidates — Ime Udoka, Wes Hardy, Chris Fleming, Pat Delaney and Jamahl Mosley — have no experience as NBA head coaches.
“Tom has always been their guy,” a source told Berman.
There’s more news on the Knicks:
- The Knicks first offered the job to Thibodeau on Thursday morning, Berman tweets. He responded with a counter offer later in the day, but they didn’t make significant progress toward an agreement until Saturday.
- Thibodeau should have plenty of time to prepare for a proposed group workout next month involving the eight teams not in Orlando, Berman writes in a separate story. Knicks president Leon Rose supports the idea of the gathering so the young roster can learn the new coach’s system, but isn’t in favor of scrimmages with other teams.
- Interim coach Mike Miller and former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson both have “strong internal support” to be part of Thibodeau’s staff, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Among those conducting the interviews along with Rose were executive vice president and senior advisor William “World Wide Wes” Wesley, general manager Scott Perry, and vice president of basketball and strategic planning Brock Aller.
- The Knicks’ new management team has long supported Thibodeau, and the only real alternative would have been John Calipari if he had been willing to leave Kentucky, a source tells Steve Popper of Newsday.
- Ed Pinckney, Andy Greer and Rick Brunson served as assistants to Thibodeau in both Chicago and Minnesota and should be considered candidates to join his staff in New York, notes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, who also hears that Miller may be retained to provide some continuity. Vorkunov speculates that the hiring of Thibodeau means the Knicks aren’t interested in a long rebuilding process.