Report: Top candidate emerges to become Knicks’ coach

New York Knicks
Dec 22, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; A view of the Knicks logo on a players jacket during the national anthem prior to the game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have spent the past few months building their front office to help the team embark on a turnaround. Now the search for a new head coach is underway and a top candidate is reportedly already emerging.

More than five months after the Knicks fired David Fizdale, following a 4-18 start, the team’s new president of basketball operations, Leon Rose, could already be narrowing in on his head coach.

Tom Thibodeau is the top candidate for Knicks

After hiring Rose to run the team’s basketball operations and bringing back general manager Scott Perry on a one-year deal, the Knicks’ search for a head coach is underway.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Mike Vorkunov, Tom Thibodeau is atop the Knicks list of targets to become head coach. The former Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves coach emerged as a serious candidate in February and has gained momentum since then.

Across eight seasons in Minnesota and Chicago, Thibodeau posted a 352-246 record. The 62-year-old helped lead the Bulls to five consecutive playoff appearances from 2010-’15, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011.

While Thibodeau’s stay in Minnesota only lasted for 2.5 seasons, before being fired in January 2019, he remains widely respected across the NBA.

When will the Knicks hire a coach

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the NBA to suspend operations in March, but the league is now moving closer towards a return. New York’s timeline to hire a coach has been impacted by the pandemic, but the organization could move relatively quickly with the search now underway.

According to The Athletic, the Knicks are hoping to decide within the next few weeks. However, that could be pushed back if the NBA resumes its regular season with all teams asked to return.

If that happens, interim coach Mike Miller could resume his duties. He has impressed New York’s front office since taking over for Fizdale and will receive an interview. However, Thibodeau is viewed as the favorite to become the next head coach.