After a lengthy process in which the team interviewed several candidates on multiple occasions, the NBA’s New York Knicks have reportedly found their next man on the sidelines.
According to ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski, reporting via Twitter, the team is finalizing a five-year deal with former Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau to run the show in the Big Apple.
As shared previously by The Inquisitr, Thibodeau had long been considered the frontrunner for the job. In addition to his eight-year track record of coaching NBA teams, as well as many more years spent as an assistant, the 62-year-old is known to have a close relationship with Knicks President Leon Rose. He also reportedly has a strong relationship with William Wesley, an executive vice president with New York.
The Knicks have long sought stability at the head coaching position, having gone through seven coaches in the last nine years. They were coached most recently by Mike Miller on an interim basis after David Fizdale was fired in December after the club began the 2019-20 campaign by losing 18 of its first 22 games. New York hasn’t qualified for postseason play since the 2012-13 season, when Mike Woodson directed the team to a 54-28 record.
This season, the Knicks had compiled a 21-45 record before the NBA suspended play in March amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, in the midst of a years-long rebuild, the franchise has fielded one of the youngest rosters in the league. As such, the squad has struggled in a myriad of areas.
Entering the suspension of play, the Knicks were in a virtual tie with the Charlotte Hornets for having the third-worst offense in the NBA with an O-rating of just 105.9. The club’s effective field goal percentage of 50.1 was the second-worst league-wide.
The struggles weren’t limited to the offensive side of the ball, either; the Knicks allowed more than 112 points per 100 possessions this season — another bottom-10 mark.
Still, the roster is stocked with promising young talent, headlined by 2019’s No. 3 overall pick, RJ Barrett.
For his part, Thibodeau joins the franchise after an uneven run in Minnesota. His team finished 31-51 in year one but made the playoffs the following year after going 47-35. He was fired midway through the 2018-19 campaign as the Wolves struggled to stay above the.500 mark. Nevertheless, he owns a career coaching record of 352-246 and once led the Bulls to a 62-20 mark and a deep playoff run.
Over parts of eight seasons, Thibodeau’s squads have qualified for the playoffs six times.