Last week when handicapping Nets head coaching candidates, Marc Stein, writing for the New York Times, listed a number of possibilities, but noted that Tom Thibodeau “is believed to be solely a Knicks candidate. Monday night, another Marc, Berman of the Post opined that oh no, Thibs, fired by the Timberwolves 16 months ago, is also a Nets —and Rockets— prospect should the Houston job open up.
Of course, the only Marks that matter is Sean and he has said that he’d like to give Jacque Vaughn and his staff a chance, if possible, before beginning a coaching search in earnest. Now, with the league trying to stitch together a return to play, that may happen.
Thibodeau, writes Berman, normally the Knicks beat writer...
The Post reported in February that Thibodeau would be on Leon Rose’s short list and looked to be a favorite if the new team president chose not to bring back Mike Miller as head coach.
While his reputation took a hit with the failure in bringing Jimmy Butler to Minnesota and allegedly mishandling young talent, sources told The Post the Nets and Houston will have strong interest, too. Houston’s Mike D’Antoni will be a free agent.
It appears Thibodeau would have interest in all three jobs.
Berman added that the Nets two superstars (who he had joining the Knicks last summer) would like to play for Thibs who was their —and DeAndre Jordan’s— assistant coach on the gold medal-winning Team USA at the Beijing Olympics.
“Kevin’s a basketball junkie, he loves him,’’ one NBA source “familiar with the situation” said. “Great players want to be coached, except the lazy ones. If they think the coach has a higher basketball IQ than them, they’re all in.’’
The source was not further described.
Doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. As our Billy Reinhardt wrote after Stein’s scoop...
Thibodeau has a reputation for overplaying his players, being a bit antiquated in his philosophies, not embracing analytics nearly enough, and feuding with his upper management. That’s not an ideal match with the Nets front office.
Of course, a lot of people have had problems with the T’wolves upper management and ownership —- ask Kevin Garnett— but Thibodeau’s big problem has always had a reputation overworking his players, to the point of injury and illness. That isn’t likely to fly in an era of load management and player empowerment.
Thibodeau was also available four years ago when Mikhail Prokhorov fired Lionel Hollins. Sean Marks was asked back then about Thibodeau.
“I don’t want to get into names, but obviously Tom is a great coach out there, and he’s going to have plenty of options,” Marks told WFAN’s Evan Roberts back then. Marks hired Kenny Atkinson.
One has to assume that Marks has a deep list of names at the ready whenever the search begins. Stein laid what he’d heard last week, reporting that Tyronn Lue, Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Vaughn, plus perhaps Mike Brown are names to watch.
So, we wait.
- Knicks will get first crack at highly coveted Tom Thibodeau - Marc Berman - New York Post