The New York Knicks have 11 candidates for the vacancy as head coach, but Tom Thibodeau is reportedly ahead of the rest.
Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic reported that Thibodeau “remains first place” to be the Knicks’ next manager. Thibs was considered a favorite for much of the trial because of his existing relationship with Knicks’ new basketball operations president Leon Rose, a former agent with whom he has a strong friendship.
Thibodeau has coached the Chicago Bulls since 2010-15 and the Minnesota Timberwolves since 2016-19, making a record of 352-246 (.589). After releasing five winning seasons in Chicago, Thibodeau struggled to reach a young Minnesota team.
The 62-year-old’s lack of grip in the Timberwolves’ locker room has played a significant role in his departure less than half of his last season after leading Minnesota to his first place in the playoffs since 2004. Karl-Anthony Towns told WCCO’s Cory Hepola that the culture under Thibodeau was a “slap in the face” for young players. Towns told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic that 40% of his talent was held by Thibodeau.
While the Timberwolves have not improved in terms of wins and losses since shooting Thibodeau for Ryan Saunders, it is clear that they are playing in a happier environment. That fall in Minnesota should cause concern for the Knicks, who are in the midst of a reconstruction.