Tom Thibodeau

Eastern Notes: Thibodeau, DeRozan, Carter, Nets, Bucks

The Knicks and head coach Tom Thibodeau will discuss an extension this offseason ahead of his contract year in 2024/25, confirms Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter video link).

In an appearance on FanDuel’s Run it Back show, Charania said the Knicks “very much want to lock (him) in long-term,” adding that Thibodeau is expected to get a raise on his current deal, which is worth about $7MM per year. Both Charania and Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports suggest that an eight-figure annual salary for Thibodeau is a realistic outcome in those negotiations.

Thibodeau has compiled a 175-143 (.550) regular season record since taking over as the Knicks’ head coach in 2020. The team won a playoff series last spring and is on the brink of a conference finals appearance this year, with a 3-2 lead over the Pacers in the Eastern semifinals.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Asked during another Run it Back segment this week whether he can envision himself playing in the NBA for five more seasons, 15-year veteran DeMar DeRozan admitted that sticking around that long isn’t a priority for him. “I don’t want play 20 years, I’ll be honest,” DeRozan said (Twitter video link). “Just from the standpoint of missing my kids, and I kind of love being normal at times. Twenty years is a lot.” The Bulls forward also reiterated (Twitter video link) that he hopes to re-sign with Chicago this summer, a stance that he made clear at season’s end.
  • The Nets announced this week that they intend to retire Vince Carter‘s No. 15 jersey next season (Twitter link). Carter, who began his career in Toronto, was traded to New Jersey in 2004 and averaged 23.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game with the Nets across 374 regular season contests in four-and-a-half seasons, earning a pair of All-Star berths with the franchise.
  • Could the Bucks‘ G League team be looking for a new home sometime soon? Justin Marville of The Oshkosh Northwestern details how a dispute between the Wisconsin Herd and Oshkosh Arena owner Fox Valley Pro Basketball Inc. over their lease agreement could result in the Herd leaving Oshkosh. As Marville notes, the Oshkosh Arena is currently for sale, so a new owner could help smooth things over with the Herd, though it’s unclear how long the sale process might take.

Spurs Haven’t Shown Much Interest In Trae Young

Trae Young could be an ideal fit for the Spurs. However, San Antonio has thus far shown little interest in acquiring the Hawks point guard, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Fischer’s story echoes a couple other reports from the past month that have downplayed the idea of Young ending up in San Antonio.

The Hawks, who unexpectedly landed the top overall pick via the draft lottery, are widely expected to consider trade scenarios that would break up their backcourt of Young and Dejounte Murray. Atlanta scoured the league to gauge interest in all of its players prior to February’s trade deadline with the exception of forward Jalen Johnson, Fischer notes.

San Antonio has no clear long-term floor leader and it’s expected the Spurs will explore their options to find a pick-and-roll partner for Victor Wembanyama. Yet multiple league figures tell Fischer that San Antonio’s interest in trading for Young has been vastly overstated.

The two teams could be doing some business together this summer, whether or not it involves Young. San Antonio holds the No. 4 and No. 8 picks, making it a natural trade partner if the Hawks choose to move down. The franchises, of course, completed the Murray blockbuster two summers ago and Atlanta’s front office duo of general manager Landry Fields and assistant GM Onsi Saleh began their careers in the Spurs’ front office.

As for Young, the Lakers hold some interest in him and now have three first-rounders available to trade. Los Angeles will have to consider other options before committing any type of capital for Young, Fischer adds, though Donovan Mitchell might be off the table if he signs an extension.

The Lakers are still pondering their coaching options and they might wait until next month to make that hire, Fischer confirms in a separate story. That’s primarily due to their interest in J.J. Redick. His current obligation to ESPN/ABC for the network’s postseason schedule and NBA Finals has various insiders under the impression Los Angeles’ search may stretch into June, as Marc Stein previously reported.

The Lakers have numerous candidates on their list, but James Borrego has been widely categorized as the experienced, veteran foil to Redick’s candidacy, Fischer writes. The former Hornets head man and current Pelicans assistant has maintained close ties with Anthony Davis since Davis was a rookie and Borrego was an assistant for the then-Hornets.

In other coaching news, Mike Brown’s contract extension talks with the Kings are expected to center around an eight-figure threshold and a Tom Thibodeau extension with the Knicks is also expected to reach those figures, Fischer notes.

Atlantic Notes: Thibodeau, Sixers, Raptors, Nets

Asked before Tuesday’s Game 5 about the outside perception that Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau is running his players into the ground, Josh Hart – who leads all NBA players with 44.1 minutes per game in the postseason – scoffed at the idea, according to Peter Botte of The New York Post.

“You expect ignorance when people have no idea what goes on in this building,” Hart said. “People love to have a narrative or a label and run with it. None of those guys are here watching us practice. None of those guys are watching what we do. At the end of the day, seventh year of my career, I’ve probably had more off days than I’ve had in other days. We don’t go contact in practice. Everyone thinks we do three-hour practices of scrimmaging. It’s idiotic to put (the Knicks’ injury woes) on him. He’s not going to say anything about it. He’s going to take it on the chin and keep on moving.”

Within an in-depth feature on Thibodeau, Tim Keown of ESPN notes that the Knicks’ head coach has a knack for staggering his timeouts during games in order to give his players as much rest as possible even when they’re playing heavy minutes. That’s something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by those who play for him.

“I would say he’s one of the most prepared coaches,” Donte DiVincenzo said. “That’s not a shot at any other coach, but Thibs is on a whole ‘nother level. He knows every single movement they’re going to do, every single adjustment they’re going to make. We go through it all, and being the more prepared team makes you more confident, and when you’re more confident, you play more loose.

“The way he runs a game,” DiVincenzo added, “you kind of forget the minutes sometimes.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer considers whether the Sixers are likely to use their substantial 2024 cap room on free agents, noting that many of the top players on this year’s market could end up being unavailable, since they’re candidates to sign extensions or free agent contracts with their current teams. “The main mistake that could be made that we won’t make is if some of the better options don’t go our way,” president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said last month. “Trade into our cap space, free agents, turn our draft picks into things – if all those things don’t yield what we want, we are definitely not going to just sign some player for a lot of money who’s just an OK player.”
  • Sunday’s draft lottery results mean the Raptors won’t control their own first-round pick – No. 8 overall – this year, having committed it to San Antonio in last year’s Jakob Poeltl trade. As Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes, that outcome gives the franchise an opportunity to learn from its past mistakes and to have a clean slate going forward. Toronto holds all of its own first-rounders beginning in 2025, so if the team wants to take a patient approach to its retooling process, the front office won’t have to worry about losing a lottery pick in a stronger draft year.
  • Lucas Kaplan of NetsDaily rounds up a few items related to the Nets‘ offseason, including following up on the report stating that the Rockets asked Brooklyn earlier this year about swapping draft assets. According to Kaplan, league sources say the talks between the Rockets and the Nets “reached nothing beyond light-hearted conversation.”

Knicks Notes: Rotation, Hart, Thibodeau, DiVincenzo

The Knicks “could” expand their rotation beyond seven players when they face Indiana in the Eastern Conference semifinals, according to Tom Thibodeau, but New York’s head coach isn’t making any promises either way, as Peter Botte of The New York Post details.

Nine players saw action for the Knicks in the first round, but Bojan Bogdanovic suffered a foot injury during the series that ended his season and Precious Achiuwa – a DNP-CD in four of six games vs. Philadelphia – only played when Mitchell Robinson was unavailable. In addition to his starters, Thibodeau essentially only used Robinson and Miles McBride off the bench, Botte writes.

If the Knicks do roll with an eight-man rotation in round two, Achiuwa is the most likely candidate to see regular playing time, says Botte. An undersized center, Achiuwa may match up better against a Pacers front line led by Myles Turner, who spends more time on the perimeter and isn’t as imposing in the paint as Joel Embiid.

Alec Burks is another candidate to see some action off the bench, but he played poorly down the stretch after being acquired from Detroit, shooting just 30.7% from the floor in 23 regular season appearances as a Knick.

Here’s more out of New York:

  • Josh Hart has been a perfect fit for the Knicks as a player on the court and for New York City as a personality off the court, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Current TNT analyst Stan Van Gundy, who coached Hart in New Orleans earlier in his career, tells Bondy that he viewed Hart as a player who “lived for” the biggest games and the biggest moments. “Josh was always great when you played the best teams, when he got the matchup with the best players,” Van Gundy said. “You never had to worry about him.”
  • After a clip from a February podcast in which he referred to Indiana as “bottom of the barrel” resurfaced ahead of the Knicks’ second-round series, Hart is prepared to hear boos from the Pacers faithful in Indianapolis. According to Botte, Hart sheepishly tried to walk back his comments by calling Indianapolis a “great city” and insisting he loves Indiana. “Do I think I’ll probably get booed? Probably,” Hart said. “It’s funny. But for me it’s always like, I don’t mind it. That’s their job. Their job is to boo, to get loud, cheer for their team. So, like I said, as long as I can get some Long’s Bakery donuts, I’ll be solid.”
  • Jason Kidd is the latest NBA head coach to sign a contract extension, having completed a new deal with the Mavericks earlier today. Could Thibodeau be next? As Van Gundy tells Bondy, the Knicks’ coach, whose current contract expires in 2025, looks like an obvious candidate for an extension. “I think it would be a real mistake on (the Knicks’) part not to lock him up for a lot of years,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t think it’s something Tom has to worry about. He certainly wants to be there. Any organization that it’s in a win-now mode would want him, so he’s going to have a job. … But I think he’d rather be there and they should want to lock him up for as long as they possibly can.”
  • Donte DiVincenzo will get the assignment as the primary defender on Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton to open the second-round series. Brian Lewis of The New York Post takes a look at how DiVincenzo is approaching that challenge.

Heat Notes: Martin, Second Apron, Spoelstra, Butler

Caleb Martin said at Friday’s exit interviews that his preference is to remain with the Heat, but Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald explains that the team’s financial situation may not make that realistic. Martin has a $7.1MM player option for next season, which he’s expected to turn down to seek a longer and more lucrative contract in free agency.

“Everybody knows I want to be here. I make that known,” Martin told reporters. “That’s my goal is to be able to stay here, make it work. I want to be here as long as possible and for them to want me to come back. That’s my main goal.”

As we noted recently, it will be difficult for Miami to re-sign Martin and free agent Haywood Highsmith without crossing the second tax apron for next season. Chiang points out that the Heat have seven players under contract for 2024/25, and assuming Kevin Love, Josh Richardson and Thomas Bryant all pick up their options, the team salary would be around $173MM with five slots left to fill.

Adding $4.2MM for the 15th pick in the draft, another $2.1MM for Orlando Robinson‘s contract, which is non-guaranteed for next season, and $2.5MM in unlikely bonuses for Tyler Herro, which have to be included for apron calculations, brings that total to $181.8MM for 12 players. That’s already above the projected first apron of $179MM and only $8.2MM away from the severe restrictions that are part of the second apron.

There’s more from Miami:

  • Coach Erik Spoelstra rejects the idea that the Heat didn’t place enough emphasis on the regular season and didn’t make a strong attempt to avoid the play-in tournament, per Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. After advancing from the play-in to the NBA Finals last year, there was a perception that Miami was content to try to do it again, which led to a bad first-round matchup with Boston. “To say that we did not philosophically take the regular season seriously, that’s totally off base,” Spoelstra said. “I could see why people would point to that because of missed games. We’re not a load-management team. There were things that happened and sometimes you can’t control that.”
  • With Jimmy Butler expected to seek a two-year extension worth about $113MM, ESPN’s Zach Lowe speculated on his latest podcast that Butler could be on the trade market this summer (hat tip to Bleacher Report). “There are scenarios, let’s just say, where the Heat trade Jimmy Butler for some future assets and some other stuff,” Lowe said, “… and that gives them the ammo to go out and call the Cavs, and say, ‘Hey, what about Donovan Mitchell?'” Butler is under contract through next season and has a $52.4MM player option for 2025/26.
  • Butler made some pointed comments about two Eastern Conference rivals and one of his former coaches (Twitter link from Rock the Bells). “If I was playing, Boston would be at home,” said Butler, who missed the first-round series with an MCL sprain. “New York damn sure would be f—ing at home.” Butler also rejected the idea that Josh Hart could guard him and said he has “love” for Tom Thibodeau but wouldn’t be interested in playing for him again. “I love Thibs but I don’t want Thibs,” Butler continued. “I love you baby, but I want to beat you to a pulp. You want me. I don’t want you. It’s like a one-sided relationship. You in love with me and I love you but I’m not in love with you.”

Atlantic Notes: Hetzel, Nets, Maxey, Thibodeau, Celtics

The Nets are hiring veteran assistant coach Steve Hetzel to be part of Jordi Fernandez‘s new staff in Brooklyn, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Hetzel was an assistant coach in Portland for the past three seasons under Chauncey Billups. Prior to his stint with the Blazers, he worked on Steve Clifford‘s staffs in both Charlotte (2014-18) and Orlando (2018-21).

Perhaps most notably, Hetzel was the head coach of the Canton Charge in the G League during the 2013/14 season. Fernandez was an assistant on his staff that year before taking over as the Charge’s head coach for the next two seasons after that.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Sixers have listed guard Tyrese Maxey as questionable to play in Game 2 on Monday due to an illness that forced him to miss this morning’s shootaround, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • In an anonymous player poll conducted by The Athletic, 47% of the respondents named Tom Thibodeau as the head coach they’d least want to play for. However, Thibodeau’s Knicks players were prepared to go to bat for him, as Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. “Nobody’s in our locker room and everybody that talks is on the outside of our locker room. They don’t know what goes on,” Donte DiVincenzo said. “Thibs is a great leader. He’s a great head coach and he’s done an amazing job this year not only dealing with injuries in and out of the lineup but also getting the best out of every single player on our team. I’m having a career year. Different guys on the team are having career years.”
  • The Celtics have made at least the Eastern Conference Finals in five of the last seven postseason but haven’t won a title during that time. Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston explores how last year’s additions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday give the team a new dimension and raise its ceiling entering the 2024 playoffs.
  • Porzingis passed a key test in Game 1 on Sunday vs. Miami, writes Brian Robb of, scoring 18 points and finishing as a +17 in his 34 minutes. Porzingis – who had only played in 10 playoff games, including none since 2021 – lacks the extensive postseason experience of his fellow Celtics starters, but he showed on Sunday that he’s up to the challenge with the stakes raised, says Robb.

Knicks Notes: Anunoby, Bogdanovic, Burks, Hart, Thibodeau

After returning to the Knicks‘ lineup Friday night, OG Anunoby said it was “just inflammation” in his right elbow that forced him to miss the previous nine games, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Anunoby, who is operating under a minutes restriction, believed it was important to get back on the court before the postseason begins.

He was able to play three games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on the elbow in February, but suffered a setback that kept him out of action again. He told reporters that he took a different approach to rehab this time than he did immediately after the operation.

“Maybe less shooting. Building up the shooting, not just going back to shooting like I normally shoot,” Anunoby said. “So just taking my time and it’s going to get better and better.” 

Anunoby played 29 minutes on Friday, scoring 12 points and shooting 5-of-8 from the field. He replaced Miles McBride in the starting lineup and guarded DeMar DeRozan for most of the night. Anunoby made an immediate impact after being acquired from Toronto in late December, and Friday’s loss dropped the Knicks to 15-3 with him on the court.

“I’m happy he’s back, happy he’s healthy,” Jalen Brunson said. “Obviously, we didn’t win so it clouds my judgment right now (on how Anunoby played), but just happy he’s healthy and out there.” 

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks were expected to provide much-needed shooting help when they were acquired in a deadline deal with Detroit, but both players are in danger of being left out of the playoff rotation, Bondy states in a separate story. Bondy notes that Anunoby’s return pushes Burks to the 10th spot in the rotation, which is more players than coach Tom Thibodeau typically uses in the postseason. Bogdanovic and Burks have struggled with efficiency since coming to New York, and they’ve seen their playing time reduced recently.
  • Josh Hart was ejected in the first quarter Friday for kicking Javonte Green in the side of the head on a play that appeared to be accidental (video link), Bondy adds in another piece. Referee Scott Foster said “intent was not a criteria” in handing out the Flagrant 2.
  • Talking with the media in Chicago, where he coached for five years, Thibodeau pushed back against the long-standing criticism that he gives too many minutes to his starters, per Steve Popper of Newsday. “People tend not to look at — what are the star players playing? Because usually you’re matching their players with a primary defender,” Thibodeau said. “So when LeBron [James] is on the floor, that’s when that player is on the floor. So LeBron is playing 39, he’s 39. If DeMar is playing 40, then whoever is guarding him has to play 40. Otherwise, you’re reducing your chances of winning. And the bottom line is to win games.”

Knicks Notes: Thibodeau, DiVincenzo, Robinson, Anunoby

Tom Thibodeau‘s reputation as a no-nonsense, old-school coach isn’t entirely deserved, Donte DiVincenzo tells Sam Amick of The Athletic. DiVincenzo was aware that Thibodeau topped an anonymous player poll of the coaches they’d least like to play for, but that didn’t affect his decision to sign a four-year, $47MM deal with New York last summer.

“From the outside world, there’s always (a different view),” DiVincenzo said. “But in our house — in-house — we have a good dynamic and we enjoy it and everybody enjoys being around each other. To the outside world, you don’t really know. All you know is perception. All you know is the history from other teams (Thibodeau has coached) and his years with different organizations. But we’ve had plenty of rest days, plenty of off days.”

Thibodeau has a reputation for giving heavy minutes to his rotation players, especially his starters, and causing them to wear down throughout the season. But he also inspires intense loyalty in players who approach the game the same way that he does. DiVincenzo said working with Thibodeau hasn’t been much different from his other NBA stops.

“I played for (the Warriors’ Steve) Kerr and played for Coach Bud (former Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer). It’s not like you come here and all of a sudden you’re just running track every day (in practice),” DiVincenzo said. “I think what he does by far better than anybody I’ve been around is he’s the most prepared. So it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go for two hours on your feet and running. But when you’re in there, you’re gonna lock in and you’re gonna get the stuff done and we’re gonna get out of there.”

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • Thibodeau has one season left on his contract and he’s hoping to land a long-term extension this summer, league sources tell Amick. Thibodeau currently makes about $7MM per year, Amick’s sources say, and he’s in line for a major raise considering the huge deals recently landed by Monty Williams, Gregg Popovich, Erik Spoelstra, Doc Rivers and Kerr.
  • Mitchell Robinson talked about the frustration of having another season disrupted by injuries, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Robinson, who’s hoping to return soon from ankle surgery, was off to the best start of his career when he felt discomfort in his left ankle during a December 8 game against Boston. He was cleared to keep playing following an X-ray, but was later diagnosed with a stress fracture. “I’m like, man, I’m trying to figure out ways to stop it from happening, the best ways that I can,” Robinson said. “And it’s like one thing after one thing. I felt like I was finally getting in shape to the top of my career right there and the next thing you know.”
  • When Robinson does return, he’ll be joining a much different version of the team, notes Fred Katz of The Athletic. The Knicks have shaken up their roster since early December, and Robinson is looking forward to playing alongside OG Anunoby. “He’s active. He’s not afraid to take a chance,” Robinson said. “He might miss one (steal) here or there, but that’s all right. He’ll get most of them.”

New York Notes: Anunoby, Randle, Hart, Thibodeau, Bridges

The Knicks will take a conservative approach regarding OG Anunoby’s sore elbow, but the irritation has shown improvement since Monday, SNY TV’s Ian Begley reports.

Anunoby underwent an MRI on his surgically repaired right elbow and the results showed no additional damage. It’s uncertain when he’ll return to action.

As for Julius Randle, Begley says there’s still an expectation that he’ll be back in action at some point this season, though he has yet to be cleared for contact. Randle, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in late January, has been participating in other on-court activities.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • Josh Hart played all 48 minutes and recorded a triple-double in Monday’s win over the Warriors, joining Hall of Famers Clyde Frazier and Jerry Lucas as the only players in franchise history to accomplish that feat, Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post notes. Hart also became the first Knicks performer to play a full game since Jared Jeffries in 2010. “I ain’t making any shots, so I’ve got to do something else,” said Hart, who had his third triple-double of the month.
  • Considering all the major injury issues he’s had to deal with this season, this might be the Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau’s best coaching job of his career, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post opines.
  • Nets forward Mikal Bridges played his 500th consecutive game in the team’s 104-91 loss to the Pelicans on Tuesday. He hasn’t missed a game during his pro career. However, his production has declined lately, including a 15-point outing against New Orleans. Asked if Bridges’ minutes should be reduced, interim coach Kevin Ollie told The New York Post’s Jared Schwartz, “We always sit down with our medical team. We think about what’s best for the organization, what’s best for the players. … We’re all talking about that. We’re gonna make the best decision for Mikal, and the best decision for our organization, if something ever arises like that.”

Tyronn Lue, Tom Thibodeau Named Coaches Of The Month

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue and Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau were named Coaches of the Month for January, the NBA announced Thursday (Twitter link).

Lue, who was also the Western Conference’s Coach 0f the Month in December, led the Clippers to a 13-3 record in January. The Clippers have gone 28-8 since a 3-7 start to the season and, entering Thursday, sat at third in the Western standings, just 2.0 games out of first place.

The Clippers appear to be firing on all cylinders through the first half of the season. James Harden has fit in nicely after being traded to Los Angeles at the beginning of the season while Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were named All-Stars earlier Thursday. Ivica Zubac and Russell Westbrook are among others playing well in their roles.

Thibodeau, the Eastern Conference winner, helped propel the Knicks toward the top of the standings in January. The Knicks went 14-2 after the New Year, including separate winning streaks of five and eight games. After beginning the month with a 17-15 record, the Knicks are now 31-17 and in third in the conference.

Like the Clippers, the Knicks have two All-Stars and several players fitting nicely into their roles. OG Anunoby, traded to New York on Dec. 30, was a huge part of New York’s month. He’s averaging 15.6 points, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks per game since being moved.

The other nominees in the Western Conference were Oklahoma City’s Mark Daigneault, Utah’s Will Hardy, Memphis’s Taylor Jenkins and Phoenix’s Frank Vogel, according to NBA PR (Twitter link). Cleveland’s J.B. Bickerstaff, Indiana’s Rick Carlisle and Boston’s Joe Mazzulla were the other nominees in the Eastern Conference.