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.
Kentucky associate head coach Kenny Payne is weighing an offer to join the New York Knicks organization, source told @Stadium. Payne has strong ties to new Knicks executive William Wesley and also Leon Rose.
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.
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.
Former Knicks coach Mike Woodson is expected to join the Knicks organization in a capacity, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA@Stadium. Woodson led the Knicks to a 54-28 record in 2012-13, which marks their most recent playoff appearance and highest win total since 1996-97.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Zach LaVine still has two years remaining on his contract with the Chicago Bulls, but there has been some speculation that the team could look to trade him if they decide to blow their roster up and start fresh. Should that happen, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are two teams that want to be prepared.
SNY’s Ian Begley reports that the Nets and Knicks have both been monitoring LaVine’s situation in Chicago and done background work on the star point guard. The Bulls recently hired a new team president in Arturas Karsinovas and have yet to commit to head coach Jim Boylen going forward. They have also had trouble surrounding LaVine with talent, so there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the current state of the franchise.
LaVine averaged a career-high 25.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game this season. Trading for him at this point — with two years left on his contract — would require giving up a huge package, but the Nets and Knicks may have the assets needed to complete a deal. Both teams are also said to be interested in Bradley Beal should the Wizards decide to trade him.
The New York Knicks have opened their search for a new head coach to a wide range of candidates, but Tom Thibodeau reportedly is still the leader for the job.
The New York Post’s Marc Berman published an informative column on Tuesday about the Knicks’ head coaching search. He says the team has already gone through its second round of head coach interviews. Jason Kidd reportedly was impressive in his interview, but Thibodeau is regarded as the favorite.
Thibodeau hasn’t coached since being fired by the Minnesota Timberwolves in January 2019. The 62-year-old has been close with new Knicks executive Leon Rose for two decades stemming from Rose’s time as an agent with CAA, which is the agency that represents Thibodeau. Thibodeau also served as an assistant coach for the Knicks from 1996 to 2004, so he has previous ties to the organization.
The Knicks went 21-45 before the season was suspended and will not be a part of the Orlando restart.