It's been rumored for a while, but now it's nearly official.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the New York Knicks are finalizing a five-year deal to make Tom Thibodeau their next head coach.
The New York Knicks and Tom Thibodeau are finalizing a five-year deal to make him the franchise’s next coach, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 25, 2020
Notably, Bulls lead assistant Chris Fleming interviewed for the position.
But it was Thibodeau's job to lose, and he now strolls into the teeth of a rebuild in New York. The Knicks haven't finished above .500 since the 2012-13 season, and are currently poised for their fifth top-10 draft pick in six years after a 21-45 finish this season. 2019 No. 3 overall pick R.J. Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle comprise the team's current nucleus.
The organization also underwent a front office overhaul last season, bringing in former co-head of CAA Sports' basketball division Leon Rose as president of basketball operations. Rose then hired former CAA compatriot William Wesley as executive vice president/senior basketball advisor. Thibodeau’s long-standing relationship with both executives included their stints as representatives for CAA.
Thibodeau undoubtedly represented the most decorated candidate on the market. He owns a career record of 376-278, postseason-included, and both led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals and won Coach of the Year in his first season as an NBA head coach (2010-11). Across five seasons with the Bulls, he coached to a 255-139 regular-season record, and currently ranks second in franchise history in regular season winning percentage (.647) and playoff wins (23). Twice in his tenure, the Bulls finished with the best record in basketball (2010-11, 2011-12).
Post-Chicago, he helmed the Minnesota Timberwolves for an eventful two-and-a-half seasons. In 2017-18, the Timberwolves won 47 games and snapped a 14-year playoff drought. The 2018-19 campaign began with a Jimmy Butler trade demand, and Thibodeau was axed in January 2019 with the team 19-21.
Now, after a year-and-a-half off, he's back. Whether his past successes translate to a young, rebuilding Knicks team remains to be seen. However it pans out, it'll be n-ICE to see Thibs patrol an NBA sideline once again.