Skip to main content

New York Knicks’ latest meltdown should lead to Tom Thibodeau’s firing

Vincent Frank

Tom Thibodeau and the New York Knicks entered Wednesday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets boasting a 35-44 record and eliminated from postseason contention.

It’s been a disastrous season for the Knicks after they earned a surprise playoff appearance back in 2020-21.

Up by 21 points earlier in the third quarter, New York melted down in epic fashion against its Big Apple rivals. That included Brooklyn outscoring the Knicks by 22 points in the fourth quarter to win by the score of 110-98.

This represents the fifth time during the 2021-22 season that New York has lost a game in which it’s been ahead by 20-plus points.

It’s also the culmination of an ugly performance from New York under the embattled Thibodeau. It’s also the latest reason why he should get his walking papers.

Counter view: 3 reasons why the New York Knicks should not fire Tom Thibodeau

Firing Tom Thibodeau is the New York Knicks’ only course of action

new york knicks should fire tom thibodeau
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It was reported back in March that Thibs would be retained for the 2022-23 season despite the Knicks’ dramatic regression this year.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski followed that up with a report ahead of Wednesday’s game that his job is safe for next season.

“People have speculated about the Knicks and Tom Thibodeau, who was just Coach of the Year last year. I’m told he is safe in New York. He’s got the support of ownership, Leon Rose the GM, and largely the locker room—the important players in the locker room.

And one more thing, I’m told: He signed an original five-year deal to be coach of the Knicks. The fifth year was a team option, wasn’t guaranteed. I’m told that the Knicks picked up that fifth year over the summer after he won Coach of the Year”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Tom Thibodeau

Financially, it would be hard for the Knicks to move off Thibs and eat the final three years of his contract.

On the court, there’s no real reason to retain him moving forwad. As we saw during his time with both the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves, Thibodeau’s tenures seem to end on a sour note when struggles are the name of the game.

The last thing these Knicks need is more drama as they close up shop on what has been a drama-filled season between Thibs and his roster. That’s especially true when it comes to his relationship with star forward Julius Randle.

It’s being reported that Randle has checked out and will look to force his way from New York in the summer. While the two have said everything right publicly, there’s seemingly something behind the scenes here.

Related: New York Knicks lack of defense putting Tom Thibodeau in a precarious position

The New York Knicks are not a destination under Tom Thibodeau

new york knicks fire tom thibodeau
Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Surprisingly, the Knicks are not planning any big moves this coming summer. Could that have to do with the organization’s lack of appeal to star players?

Remember, it was a head of the 2019-20 season that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant displayed a lack of interest in the Knicks. Rather, they teamed up with Brooklyn in the Big Apple — a big slap in the face of the Knicks’ organization.

We’re just not seeing how this team is going to be an attractive destination for big-time free agents and those who request trades over the next couple summers.

Why prolong the inevitable? Barring an unforeseen roster shake up during the summer, New York is not going to be top-end playoff contenders in 2022-23. If that is indeed the case, this thing between the organization and Thibodeau could turn ugly.

Wednesday’s embarrassing loss to the Nets adds another layer to this. End the experiment right now. Whether it’s this summer or two years down the road, it’s not going to end swimmingly.