Tom Thibodeau has reportedly been the favorite to be hired as the New York Knicks head coach since the trial began, but a challenger in that position has emerged in the form of former Knicks guard Jason Kidd. Kidd, a Hall of Famer who spent her best years playing for crosstown Nets, had a “great interview” with the Knicks according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Thibodeau, however, remains at the forefront of Knicks’ job.
As a coach can be an excellent interviewer, Kidd has shown a remarkable propensity to sell himself to teams. He was hired by the Brooklyn Nets in 2013 only nine days after announcing his retirement as a player, and when his power over list checking failed, he took a job from Milwaukee Bucks which was already occupied by Larry Drew. The Lakers were so in love with Kidd when they interviewed him the last offseason that they reportedly insisted on him as main assistant to other candidates. Players have an equally strong opinion of Kidd. Part of his appeal to the Knicks is his relationship with Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will become a free agent after the 2020-21 season.
But Kidd’s resume as a coach is worrying. He has never won more than 42 games as head coach of Milwaukee. Mike Budenholzer took over largely the same roster after Kidd was fired and immediately won 60. His overly aggressive defense and analytically adverse offense did more harm than good for his Bucks teams, and he will have to convince the Knicks who is willing to stylistically modernize if he wants to earn their main job.
Based on the reports from his interview, he appears to have done just that. Even if it is, overcoming Thibodeau’s long relationship with Knicks’ new president, Leon Rose, will be difficult. Thibodeau was represented by CAA, Rose’s former employer when he was an agent, and his nearly ten-year stint as assistant Knicks did not hurt his job. While the Knicks have interviewed a large list of candidates, Thibodeau and Kidd seem to be at the top of their list for now.