Five coaching vacancies have been created since Tom Thibodeau agreed to terms with the Knicks on July 25, but he has no reason to regret his decision, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Thibodeau might have been a candidate to join the Nets, Sixers, Pacers, Rockets or Thunder, but a source tells Berman the coach is happy to be reunited with team president Leon Rose, his former agent with CAA.
“He took the job because he trusted Leon,’’ the source said.
Trust means Thibodeau will have input on important decisions such as the upcoming draft, where the Knicks own picks No. 8, 27 and 38. Thibodeau served as both coach and team president in Minnesota and is used to being involved in personnel moves.
“I think, as a head coach, the only thing you want is a voice,’’ Thibodeau told reporters Friday on a Zoom call. “I think a lot was made of a president’s title, but also, I had a GM and assistant GMs that did a lot of the day-to-day stuff that a normal general manager would do.”
There’s more from New York:
- Finding a point guard will be the priority heading into the draft, but the Knicks are also taking a long look at Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, Berman adds in the same story. Okoro’s defensive skills could be a perfect fit for Thibodeau’s system.
- Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. are both attending the Knicks’ mini-camp to show the new coaching staff what they can do, according to Steve Popper of Newsday. Neither of the former lottery picks has been able to seize control of the starting point guard job. “We’re three days in, so I’m getting to know both guys,” Thibodeau said Friday. “I like what they’ve done so far. They got to continue to work. There’s oftentimes ups and downs for young players. There’s a learning curve they have to go through. Some experiences will be better than others.”
- Mitchell Robinson isn’t participating in the mini-camp, but he impressed Thibodeau during individual workouts last week, Popper writes in a separate story. Robinson pulled out of the team sessions at the last minute due to “personal reasons” that the Knicks say aren’t related to COVID-19. “He’s an incredible athlete, Thibodeau said. “But we don’t want to put a ceiling on him. We want to continue to work on all aspects of his game and develop. He spent some time here earlier in the summer and we’re hopeful that we can get him back in and get to work with him so he can build on those skills, but obviously he’s a very important part of this team.”