The New York Knicks have hired Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach, the team officially announced Thursday. Thibodeau will be the tenth full-time manager the Knicks have had in this century and will replace interim coach Mike Miller, another candidate for permanent job. On Saturday morning the other candidates were informed that they had not gotten the job. In an introductory press conference, Thibodeau, who previously worked as an assistant with the Knicks, called the concert a “dream come true”.
“This is a dream come true for me,” Thibodeau said at a Zoom press conference. “This is my dream job …” Perhaps part of the fact is that I grew up in Connecticut. My father, my family, we grew up as a Knicks fan. I think I experienced in the 90s that there is no better place to be than Madison Square Garden. And so I love challenges, I love that city, I love the arena, I love fans and I am enthusiastic about the team. “
Thibodeau was previously the coach of the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves. His Chicago teams have had great success, reaching the playoffs in each of his five seasons and routinely ending up near the top of the defending league. His mandate to Minnesota was less successful, however, as star Jimmy Butler asked for an exchange and the young stallions Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins stagnated. His tactics have been criticized as outdated in Minnesota, but the Knicks seem to believe that he can modernize in New York, and is excited to get started.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to return to this historic franchise as head coach and work alongside a talented front office that I have great trust and respect for,” said Thibodeau. “I know what New York is like when the Knicks are successful and there is nothing comparable. I am looking forward to being part of what we are building here and I am looking forward to getting to work.”
Thibodeau’s relations in New York almost certainly contributed to his hiring. He is represented by the CAA, where Knicks’ president Leon Rose once ran basketball operations. He was also an assistant Knicks from 1996 to 2004. On paper, this suggests that Thibodeau should be able to adapt fairly quickly to New York pressures. A coach’s ability to work in concert with a front office is critical to his success, and the pre-existing relationship between Thibodeau and Rose gives the Knicks an edge on the front.