It’s very early, but the New York Knicks’ new coaching staff seems to have made an impression on one player.
Kenny Wooten, a former undrafted free agent who spent 2019-20 with the G League’s Westchester Knicks, took part in the first workout led by Tom Thibodeau on Wednesday. He tweeted a quick note afterward that indicates that the staff made an impression on him.
It’s certainly never a bad thing to see this from a player after meeting the new coaches.
The Thibodeau hire has won wide praise around the sport. Thibodeau also added Kenny Payne, a highly-regarded assistant coach at Kentucky, to his staff. The early results certainly seem good, but much will depend on whether Thibodeau and his staff get the players they need to be successful.
When Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets over a year ago, there was a feeling that the New York Knicks blew a shot at turning things around for their tortured franchise. As it turns out, they never had a shot.
During an appearance on “The Old Man and the Three” podcast with J.J. Redick and Tommy Alter this week, Durant said the idea of being the “savior of the Knicks” never appealed to him. He also says he was never lured by the popularity of the franchise.
Many were shocked when Durant signed with the Nets. After he won multiple championships with the Golden State Warriors, some felt Durant would look to cement his legacy by rescuing the Knicks. Apparently he never had any intention of trying to do that.
There was a report after Durant turned down the Knicks that they may not have been willing to offer him enough money, but that reeked of spin from a team that missed out on yet another elite player. Given Durant’s comments this week, it seems even more likely that he simply wanted nothing to do with James Dolan’s team.
Justin Holiday will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and the New York Knicks reportedly have interest in him.
Indiana Pacers reporter J. Michael said on Twitter Saturday that the Knicks “really want” Holiday.
J. Michael’s comments came after he said on the “Setting the Pace” podcast that he originally heard Holiday wanted to return to the Pacers, but that things changed due to locker room issues.
Holiday saw this report on Instagram and responded in a comment on the Pacers Access page to say that he didn’t know what J. Michael was talking about.
So here’s what we know:
– Holiday is a free agent
– There are differing reports about whether Holiday wants to return to the Pacers
– The Knicks are interested in Holiday
The Knicks will have an estimated $53 million in salary cap space for next year and should have the funds to sign Holiday if he is interested. The 31-year-old forward averaged 8.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game this season.
H/T Daily Knicks
Count Rick Pitino among those who are very happy with the direction of the New York Knicks.
Pitino went out of his way on Twitter Saturday to praise the Knicks’ recent coaching moves. He not only gave plaudits to the hiring of Tom Thibodeau, but he also was pleased with the addition of Kenny Payne as an assistant.
If the Knicks turn it around quickly, it appears that you heard it from Pitino first.
Pitino, now the head coach at Iona, is a New Yorker, and he coached the Knicks for two seasons. He wants to see them do well. If they’d taken his advice three years ago, they’d probably be in a lot better shape, but better late than never.
The New York Knicks are working hard to assemble a new coaching staff for coach Tom Thibodeau, but last year’s interim coach apparently will not be on it.
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the team will not retain Mike Miller as an assistant to Thibodeau despite acquitting himself fairly well as the team’s interim coach.
Miller took over from David Fizdale in December and went 17-27 as the Knicks’ interim coach. While not great, that’s a lot better than the 4-18 record Fizdale had started with at the time of his firing.
There were some in the organization who wanted to see Miller retained by the Knicks even if someone else got the head coach job. Instead, it appears a well-respected assistant is going to be on the open market.
John Calipari may not be going to the New York Knicks, but one of his top assistants might be.
Jeff Goodman of Stadium reported Saturday that the Knicks have made a job offer to Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne, who is weighing whether or not to take it.
New Knicks president Leon Rose continues to use his connections throughout the world of basketball to try to build a top organization. Payne has been an assistant with Kentucky since 2010, and his official school bio touts him as a top recruiter and key to the development of Kentucky’s big men.
Payne is also a pretty big fan of Kevin Knox, and moving to the Knicks would present an opportunity for the two to work together again.
Mike Woodson did not get the head coaching job with the New York Knicks, but he is still reportedly being hired by the organization.
Woodson is expected to join the Knicks in some capacity, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
A report earlier this month claimed Woodson could be hired as an assistant if he did not return to the Knicks as head coach, so he is likely joining Tom Thibodeau’s staff.
Woodson, who is currently an assistant coach for the LA Clippers, coached the Knicks from 2012 to 2014, going 109-79 (.580) with two playoff appearances. The team has not had a winning season since parting ways with him.
The Knicks officially announced on Thursday that they have hired Thibodeau as their head coach.
Reports surfaced last week that the New York Knicks had reached an agreement with Tom Thibodeau, and the news was made official on Thursday.
In a lengthy press release, the Knicks announced the hiring of Thibodeau as their next head coach. President of basketball operations Leon Rose said Thibodeau is a “proven winner who gets the most out of the players and teams that he has coached.”
Thibodeau was believed to be the front-runner for the Knicks job from the start, in part because he has a previous relationship with Rose dating back to Rose’s time as an agent with Creative Artists Agency. Thibodeau also served as an assistant coach for New York from 1996-2004.
Thibodeau last coached with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was fired in January 2019 after making the playoffs just once in three seasons and losing in the first round. The 62-year-old has a record of 352-246 in the regular season and 24-32 in the playoffs as a head coach. His most successful stint came with the Chicago Bulls, when he led the team to the postseason five straight years.
While the Knicks did not disclose the terms of Thibodeau’s contract, it is reportedly a five-year deal.
The New York Knicks’ hire of Tom Thibodeau as head coach has won a lot of praise, but one ringing endorsement that matters comes from someone who knows both the team and coach well.
Jeff Van Gundy said the Knicks made an “elite” hire in Thibodeau, and that he has what it takes to turn the franchise into a winner again.
“I’m extremely happy for Tom and equally happy for the Knicks as they hired an elite coach who will give everything he has to turn the Knicks around,” Van Gundy told Marc Berman of the New York Post via email.
Thibodeau knows the Knicks, and he knows Van Gundy. He served as an assistant to Van Gundy in New York and later Houston. Thibodeau knows what it’s like to work in New York and has a track record of success as an NBA head coach, so Van Gundy’s intuition may prove correct.
As for Van Gundy, it sounds like there’s at least some chance he could be coaching against Thibodeau next season at some point.
The New York Knicks appear to have the man they wanted all along.
As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks are finalizing a five-year contract with Tom Thibodeau to become the team’s new head coach.
Though the Knicks were linked to numerous coaching candidates, it was pretty clear that Thibodeau was their clear No. 1 choice, and has been for months. The team’s hiring of Leon Rose as team president, who is close with Thibodeau, only seemed to reinforce that.
Thibodeau’s most successful coaching stop remains the Chicago Bulls, where he made the playoffs in each of his five seasons. He went on to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to their first playoff appearance in 14 years in 2018, but he was dismissed as coach and team president in 2019.