Former New York Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau is finalizing a deal to return to the club as head coach, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday.
The deal reportedly will run five years.
Thibodeau, who previously was the head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves, had been considered the frontrunner for the job and had a formal interview in early July.
Thibodeau’s decades-long relationship with Knicks president Leon Rose made him an early favorite, despite the team’s intention to interview at least 11 candidates. Thibodeau was represented by Creative Artist Agency when Rose and newly hired executive vice president William Wesley ran the agency’s basketball department.
Rose was expected to make a decision by the end of the month, per the New York Post.
Other candidates to replace David Fizdale, who was fired in December, were Jason Kidd, Kenny Atkinson, Mike Woodson, Mike Brown, Ime Udoka, Will Hardy, Pat Delaney, Jamahl Mosley, Chris Fleming and Knicks interim coach Mike Miller.
The 62-year-old Thibodeau has a 352-246 career record over eight seasons with the Bulls and T-Wolves, including a 24-32 postseason mark.
Tom Thibodeau a long-term play
The Knicks were 21-45 when the season was halted on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Out of contention for the playoffs, they are not taking part in the NBA’s upcoming restart.
The team’s most recent playoff appearance came in the 2012-13 season, when they lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Knicks were 54-28 that season but have not finished with a mark above .500 since.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)