Jan 2, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Thibodeau already managed to bring Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson to the New York Knicks. Now another one of Thibodeau’s old players appears to be next up on the wishlist.
Marc Berman of the New York Post reported this week that Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, is on the Knicks’ radar.
The 25-year-old Jones previously played for Thibodeau, the Knicks coach, on the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2016 to 2019. Jones is having a nice year as Ja Morant’s backup (averaging 8.7 points and 4.4 assists per game) and has even do some solid spot-start work when Morant has been hurt.
While Immanuel Quickley made an impact for them this season, the Knicks did not have very many answers at point guard with Rose missing most of the year and the Kemba Walker experiment going kaput. On top of Jones, the Knicks also have interest in another notable backcourt player.
The New York Knicks endured a very difficult 2021-22 season, and had some in the organization reportedly had their way, it would have involved a change of coaches.
At least two members of the Knicks front office called for Tom Thibodeau to be fired at the All-Star break, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. The team had lost 13 of 16 at the time, and ose who wanted Thibodeau fired felt he had lost the team, citing body language during timeouts to support that assertion.
Thibodeau had a staunch ally in team president Leon Rose, however, and Rose refused to consider firing Thibodeau. The Knicks wound up going 12-11 after the break.
Thibodeau just finished his second season with the Knicks, and he led the team to a surprise playoff appearance in 2021. One would think he had built up some goodwill through that, though all indications are Rose is the biggest factor working in his favor. For now, Thibodeau is set to return next season, though it’s hard to know how long his leash is.
Photo: Jan 2, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
We now know just how much danger Tom Thibodeau is in of being fired from a third NBA team.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported Wednesday on Thibodeau’s level of job security with the New York Knicks. Fischer reveals that Thibodeau is expected to remain the Knicks’ coach beyond the 2021-22 season despite some internal support to move on from him. The report adds that Knicks owner James Dolan gave the front office permission to either keep or fire Thibodeau. However, Knicks president Leon Rose, who hired Thibodeau, reportedly has no plans to make a change.
Thibodeau is the reigning NBA Coach of the Year, having just led the Knicks to their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade last season. But the team has fallen on some rough times this year, going 28-40 and having virtually zero chance of even making the play-in tournament. There have also been indications that Thibodeau is losing the support of a key Knicks executive.
Granted, the team’s roster, particularly one notable player, appears to be the bigger problem here. Unlike his previous stop in Minnesota, Thibodeau does not have dual executive powers, so it looks like his hands are clean enough for him to survive at least one more NBA season.
Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports
The New York Knicks’ season is heading downhill fast, and coach Tom Thibodeau is finding himself on an increasingly warm seat.
Tensions are increasing around the Knicks after they blew a 28-point lead at home to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, and fingers are being pointed at the head coach. In private conversations with owner James Dolan, Knicks vice president William Wesley has blamed Thibodeau for the team’s struggles, according to Ian Begley of SNY. This does not mean Thibodeau’s job is in immediate danger, but it certainly suggests he could be the first to go if things do not improve after the All-Star break.
Thibodeau would likely point the finger right back at the front office. The Knicks coach was privately unhappy with the team’s lack of trade deadline moves, according to Zach Braziller of the New York Post. The one move the Knicks did make was a trade for Atlanta’s Cam Reddish, but that was a move Thibodeau reportedly did not want.
As the reigning Coach of the Year, Thibodeau should have some goodwill to burn after a strong 2020-21 season. However, the 25-34 Knicks aren’t even in a play-in spot at this point, and the team is not playing well. Thibodeau has also faced criticism for keeping RJ Barrett in during the final minute of a blowout loss to Denver, only for Barrett to sprain his ankle and miss multiple games. There has also been chatter that Knicks players aren’t happy with the coach’s offense.
There are few changes the Knicks could make at this point with the trade deadline passed. If things get desperate enough, it’s easy to see how Thibodeau could wind up being the fall guy.
The New York Knicks’ front office went ahead and made a move recently that head coach Tom Thibodeau was apparently against.
Marc Berman of the New York Post reported this weekend that Thibodeau did not want the Knicks to trade for swingman Cam Reddish but that the team pulled the trigger anyway.
The Knicks acquired Reddish, a college teammate of current Knicks star RJ Barrett, from the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 13. They gave up former lottery pick Kevin Knox and a protected future first-rounder to get Reddish.
Since the Reddish deal, Thibodeau’s apparent disdain for him has definitely shown. Reddish has made a grand total of three appearances for the Knicks so far, playing 21 minutes all in all. That is ridiculously little playing time, especially considering that Reddish was acquired nearly a month ago.
Thibodeau did win Coach of the Year for the Knicks just last season. But he is also a very stubborn figure who has clashed with his front offices before. That may now be rearing its head for Thibodeau in New York once again.
Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports
Kevin Knox is no longer with the New York Knicks, which means that his father no longer has to hold his tongue about the team.
Knox was traded by the Knicks to the Atlanta Hawks this week. Afterwards, Knox’s father, Kevin Knox Sr., took a parting shot at Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau. In an interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post, Knox Sr. was asked why he felt his son did not get more minutes with the Knicks.
“That’s a great question for Tom Thibodeau,” replied Knox Sr. “I think we turned the corner. Everybody could see the progression of a young Kevin Knox where he wasn’t really a defensive liability. I think Tom Thibodeau did a great job helping Kevin be a better defensive player. At some point, I think he did become that. He’s always had that stroke and so it become puzzling throughout the organization on why he wasn’t playing Kevin.”
Knox Sr. also said that he would not blame Knicks president Leon Rose for his son’s lack of playing time.
“It’s not the president who calls the plays,” Knox Sr. continued. “It’s not the president who makes the substitutions. The president hires a coach. This coach here obviously felt he can win games without Kevin Knox. To be able to go to another team, you can’t help be excited because you can have the opportunity to have a chance to play meaningful minutes … There’s not many miles on the Rolls Royce.”
Knox Sr. gave other thoughts on both the Knicks the Hawks in his full interview with Berman, which you can read here.
The 22-year-old Knox was drafted by the Knicks with a top-ten pick in 2018. He looked pretty promising in his rookie season, averaging 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 28.8 minutes per game. But Thibodeau was hired in 2020, and Knox had averaged a pitiful 3.8 points and 1.5 rebounds in 10.5 minutes per game since then as an outcast of Thibodeau’s rotation.
It is unclear exactly how much more opportunity Knox will get with the Hawks. But what we do know is that the end of Knox’s Knicks tenure continued an absolutely insane curse for James Dolan’s franchise.
Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports
New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has never been known as an offensive whiz, and that may be proving true again this season.
Ian Begley of SportsNet New York reports this weekend that a couple of top Knicks players have privately expressed frustrations about how the team’s offense has played out this year. Begley adds that the offensive performance of the Knicks’ starting lineup has been particularly underwhelming.
While the Knicks are 12th in the NBA in offensive efficiency this season, they are a bottom-ten team when it comes to pace. Begley notes that the Knicks scored just 13 points in the first quarter against the lowly Houston Rockets on Saturday. It is not clear which players specifically may be frustrated. But leading scorers Julius Randle (19.6 points per game this season, down from 24.1 last season) and RJ Barrett (15.3, down from 17.6) are both in the midst of scoring downturns.
The sky is not exactly falling for the Knicks, who are still a respectable 9-7 on the year overall. But this is not the first time that we have heard of frustration from within about Thibodeau’s offense.
Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports
Despite his opposing coach’s assertion, Tom Thibodeau is not too convinced that the NBA has a pro-New York Knicks bias.
On Friday, the Knicks head coach Thibodeau responded to recent comments made by Atlanta Hawks counterpart Nate McMillan. In an effort to motivate his team against the Knicks in their first-round series, McMillan told them that the league wants the big-market Knicks to make a deep playoff run.
Thibodeau said that he did not get the impression that the NBA preferred the Knicks based on an incident in the 1997 playoffs, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. Thibodeau was a Knicks assistant under Jeff Van Gundy in a second-round series against the Miami Heat. A brawl ensued in Game 5 when Heat center PJ Brown threw down Knicks guard Charlie Ward. A total of six Knicks were suspended for leaving the bench, including Patrick Ewing, John Starks, and Allan Houston. That left the Knicks severely undermanned for the rest of the series, and they blew a 3-1 lead to lose in seven games.
History aside, the NBA did not care for McMillan’s remarks and responded by handing the Hawks coach a pretty hefty fine. The league is now run by a different commissioner than it was in 1997. But Thibodeau will still have a hard time believing that his team has any built-in advantage against Atlanta.
The NBA has adopted unique schedule changes for the 2020-21 season due to the pandemic-shortened year, and one coach would like the league to keep one of them permanently.
As part of its schedule, the NBA has teams occasionally playing a “series” format, where teams play back-to-back games against each other, one at home and one on the road. The format is partly intended to reduce travel.
New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, however, is a legitimate fan of the idea. He believes others in the league feel the same way, and hopes it becomes a permanent feature of the NBA schedule.
The sense of familiarity that comes from back-to-back games can be fun for players and fans. It may also contribute to some rivalries developing between teams that normally wouldn’t see each other frequently enough for anything to flare up.
Some pandemic scheduling quirks have worked out quite well, to the point that the NBA is trying to keep them. This may be the latest example of that.
The Derrick Rose-Tom Thibodeau partnership could be returning for a virtually unheard-of third installment.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that the New York Knicks are among the teams interested in the Detroit Pistons guard Rose. Thibodeau, the Knicks coach, has a long history with the ex-MVP, having coached him on both the Chicago Bulls and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Rose, who is averaging 14.8 points and 4.6 assists per game off the bench for the Pistons this season, also played for the Knicks in the 2017-18 campaign. Thibodeau, meanwhile, has coached the 13-year NBA veteran Rose for a total of seven of those years.
Rookie Immanuel Quickley has emerged as a strong contributor for the Knicks at the point guard position. But their backcourt depth otherwise is still fairly sparse. The Knicks are currently in the hunt for the playoffs at No. 8 in the East, so a move for a veteran on an expiring deal like Rose would fit their timeline. Thibodeau also has quite a knack for pursuing his old players.