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“One, he showed me professionalism, really how to be a student of the game; studying the playbook, studying players…it’s like knowing your enemy better than it knows itself and being prepared. He’s always prepared. He always has a plan A,B,C,D,E,F and G so, that’s one thing that they’re going to get out of Coach Thibbs. Also he expects every player to practice, every player bring their A game and he preaches with defense first; if you play defense you will get offense. So if you want play offense, you got to play defense. I loved that about him and he’s just a hardnosed coach.”
Some league sources have suggested never to count out Calipari when Leon Rose, the new Knicks president, and William Wesley, unofficial team advisor, are involved. Last February, the Kentucky coach raved about Rose but said he wouldn’t be interested in leaving Kentucky to work for him. Calipari signed a 10-year “lifetime’’ contract with Kentucky last June.
Some league sources have suggested never to count out Calipari when Leon Rose, the new Knicks president, and William Wesley, unofficial team advisor, are involved. Last February, the Kentucky coach raved about Rose but said he wouldn’t be interested in leaving Kentucky to work for him. Calipari signed a 10-year “lifetime’’ contract with Kentucky last June.
Former Knicks coach Larry Brown, who bounced back and forth from the NBA to college during a Hall-of-Fame career, is Calipari’s longtime mentor and speaks to Calipari a couple of times a week. Brown doubts the 61-year-old Calipari would throw his hat in the ring at the last minute and upend the Knicks’ coaching search, in which Tom Thibodeau is the heavy favorite.
The Knicks, after all, have a coaching search to conduct, and throwing a disastrous 2019-20 season in the garbage will be easy. Who wants to remember David Fizdale’s stint, or Steve Mills’ or James Dolan’s issues with arena chants and Spike Lee? Moving forward to the Leon Rose era can’t begin in earnest until he hired his coach. To that end, sources say Tom Thibodeau is the heavy favorite to land the job.
Mike Miller, the interim coach who acquitted himself well after taking over for Fizdale, will get a look. Kenny Atkinson will also be interviewed, according to The Athletic. Around the league, people have cautioned to never count out John Calipari, given the Kentucky coach’s strong connection to Rose’s associate, William Wesley. But the belief is that this is Thibodeau’s to lose, and a source said he’s confident about getting the job — to the point that Thibodeau has made calls to assemble a staff.
In raving about Thibodeau in general, Van Gundy touted him as more than a defensive master. The former Bulls and Timberwolves head coach was on Van Gundy’s staffs previously with the Knicks and Rockets. “Tom Thibodeau is a great, great basketball coach – like, great,’’ Van Gundy said on SiriusXM radio. “And I think unfortunately for him the perception of him on the sidelines as this gruff, nasty dude is not even close to who is he personally. Like, he is a great guy. He’s fun to be around. He’s enjoyable to be around, and he loves basketball. He loves NBA basketball and he works at it and he is elite in his profession.”
With the Rockets, Nets and 76ers occupied until late August with the season restart, the Knicks don’t even have competition. “I hope he gets another opportunity to be a head coach because if you look at his body of work he certainly deserves it and any team that may interview him or hire him would be very fortunate to have him as a head coach.,’’ Van Gundy said. “He gets thought of as a defensive coach but if you look at his best teams in Chicago and in Minnesota they were very high level statistically speaking offensive teams and I think it’s been overlooked when people try to evaluate Tom from the outside.”
With that in mind, we reached out to one current NBA coach and one former NBA coach to gauge their thoughts on some Knicks candidates. Below are their thoughts on how Tom Thibodeau would fit in New York... SCHEMES... "He's an elite defensive coach. There's no question. Those guys will be playing hard for him and, if they follow his scheme, they'll defend the pick-and-roll well. They'll take away drives and control the paint. His schemes are excellent, but as we saw in Minnesota, the schemes alone can't offset lack of effort from players or subpar defenders. I think RJ Barrett has the frame and athleticism to be a talented defender. Mitchell Robinson has a ton of upside on that end as a shot-blocker. Tom should be able to get the best out of those two and whoever else they put on the court."
The Knicks’ coaching search won’t officially start until they get binding word that they will not be among the teams invited to Central Florida. Such confirmation, of course, could come as soon as Thursday, when the league’s Board of Governors is scheduled to vote on Silver’s preferred proposal. The expectation in league coaching circles is that the Knicks will move with reasonable swiftness from there, since Tom Thibodeau is regarded as such an overwhelming favorite to replace the interim coach Mike Miller. Leon Rose, the Knicks’ new team president, has a close relationship with Thibodeau from their lengthy stints as agent and client with Creative Artists Agency. Word is that the Knicks, for good measure, have already begun background work on their top target.
If the Knicks decide on Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach, he will have plenty of time to construct a solid staff. But the former Knicks assistant may not need much time. Members of Thibodeau’s past staffs in Chicago and Minnesota are likely eager to join him in New York to revive the dead Knicks, according to sources.
If the Knicks decide on Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach, he will have plenty of time to construct a solid staff. But the former Knicks assistant may not need much time. Members of Thibodeau’s past staffs in Chicago and Minnesota are likely eager to join him in New York to revive the dead Knicks, according to sources.
Moving forward to the Leon Rose era can’t begin in earnest until he hired his coach. To that end, sources say Tom Thibodeau is the heavy favorite to land the job. Mike Miller, the interim coach who acquitted himself well after taking over for Fizdale, will get a look. Kenny Atkinson will also be interviewed, according to The Athletic. Around the league, people have cautioned to never count out John Calipari, given the Kentucky coach’s strong connection to Rose’s associate, William Wesley. But the belief is that this is Thibodeau’s to lose, and a source said he’s confident about getting the job — to the point that Thibodeau has made calls to assemble a staff.
The advantage of Thibodeau wanting a return to New York is the defensive wizard has worked with Rose before as a client of Creative Artists Agency. Some insiders believe Atkinson could be a better fit than Thibodeau because he’s reputedly better suited for a younger roster that is rebuilding.
The Knicks won’t begin any coaching search until they find out whether their season is over, according to sources. That could come as soon as Friday night, should commissioner Adam Silver finalize a format for the season’s restart following a conference call with the team owners.
Former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson likely will also receive an interview, sources said. Atkinson and the Nets parted ways in March with the team at 28-34 and on the way to the postseason during a difficult fourth season at the helm. Atkinson helped turn the franchise around during his tenure, taking it from a 20-win team in 2016-17 to a playoff team last season and one that proved to be an attractive destination for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency. He was a Knicks assistant for four seasons under head coach Mike D’Antoni.
The New York Knicks and president of basketball operations Leon Rose will soon embark on the search process for a new head coach and Tom Thibodeau is atop the list of targets, sources told The Athletic. The Knicks are believed to be targeting a decision in the next few weeks, sources said. Interim coach Mike Miller has left a strong impression throughout the franchise, including in his time since Rose assumed control of the front office. Miller is expected to receive an interview when the Knicks do start formally talking to prospective head coaches, according to league sources, after stabilizing the team following a 4-18 start that led to David Fizdale’s firing.
Thibodeau added that he’s learned from his mistakes and talked around some of them that occurred during his stints with the Bulls and Timberwolves. Often criticized for working his players too hard — especially in Chicago — Thibodeau said he spent this season touring the NBA and picked up training habits.
“The way everyone’s managing with load management and where your team is, sports scientists, so it’s different. And if your team is young and you’re in a rebuild, you’re probably practicing more than an older veteran team,” Thibodeau said. “In some cases where the team is mixed, there’s almost two practices going on in one, where your young guys are getting the work they need, and the older vets are in the weight room getting strength and conditioning.”
If you follow the NBA, you know that one of the criticisms of Tom Thibodeau is something like this: his intensity and his approach to practices/playing time wear players out. Whether that's true or not depends on who you talk to and what their perspective is on the matter. Thibodeau, a strong candidate for the Knicks' head coaching job if interim head coach Mike Miller isn't retained, addressed those criticisms in an interview on ESPN's First Take earlier this week.
Here's what he said: "I think we all have questions to answer as coaches. The big thing is oftentimes there's things that are being said where there's no validity to them, they're being painted by people that have never even been around you," Thibodeau said when asked by Max Kellerman about the criticism that his players are fatigued in the playoffs. "And then I would say to all those people, the facts are what the facts are. To look into the facts, to do your research, to look into the numbers and to also talk to former players, the guys who have played for me. I think if you did that, you would find what the truth is. There are certain things that I do believe in. But as we all know, our league is always changing. It never stays the same and it never has, nor will it ever. So you have to keep adapting as time goes on.
During the First Take interview this week, Thibodeau essentially declined to comment on the reports stating other teams are interested in hiring him. "They're just rumors an that's what it is. And this time of year, everything is on hold," he said. "Normally you would have some openings and right now there aren't any openings. So you don't want to speculate on what jobs could open. That's what you have an agent for. He'll certainly, at some point, look at if there is an opportunity, whether it be a good match or not. I'm still under contract with Minnesota so I feel like I'm in a position where I can be patient."

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During an appearance earlier this week on the “Knicks Fan TV” podcast, in which he said Dolan is “scared” of him, Oakley was asked if he thought Van Gundy would be a good selection as the next Knicks head coach. “With these guys, a Jeff-type coach?,’’ Oakley said. “If I know Jeff correctly — and I played for him and know how he coached — I think it would be tough to come back and coach young guys. What he believes in for his offense and defense in this day and age, it’s totally different.’’
Oakley doesn’t think Van Gundy would have the patience for the millennial NBAer. “You can make three, four turnovers and miss four free throws in the first few minutes and take bad shots,’’ Oakley said. “You look at these teams. Out of 80 shots, 30 shots are bad. “Basketball has changed. You’re not getting the 1990s back. The game has a totally different atmosphere. You got to build a team with leadership and players willing to sacrifice. These kids don’t care about basketball. All they care about is getting the check, playing video games and the social media.”
Asked if he can envision Jackson coming back home to coach the Knicks, Kleiman said: “There’a few things in life that like would check certain boxes for me. If he ever had a chance to coach the Knicks, obviously I’d be over the moon. But more importantly he’d be a tremendous coach. Somebody who brings a certain amount of credibility to any room he walks into. He can’t help but infuse positivity into a culture. I’ve seen it.’’
Frank Isola: Leon Rose has been close with Tom Thibodeau for two decades. If a coaching change is made Thibodeau would be among the favorites. Thibs is 106 games over .500 in his NBA head coaching career. By comparison, the Knicks have won a total of 144 games over the last six seasons.
Frank Isola: Leon Rose has been close with Tom Thibodeau for two decades. If a coaching change is made Thibodeau would be among the favorites. Thibs is 106 games over .500 in his NBA head coaching career. By comparison, the Knicks have won a total of 144 games over the last six seasons.
"I don't make those decisions, but from my personal standpoint, dealing with him on a daily basis has been absolutely amazing while he interacts with us, how he coaches the game -- everything.," Randle said. "We've responded really well to him and he's done a great job." Since he replaced Fizdale with Dec. 7's 104-103 loss to the Pacers, Miller is 13-20 through his first 33 games in charge of the Knicks. Over that span, Randle has been an instant beneficiary of Miller's tweaks.
"I think, just knowing him and his personality, he doesn't pay attention to it -- he's focused on us every day, preparing us the best way he can and I really think that's, honestly, his focus," Randle said of the possibility that the Knicks replace Miller. "I know, for me, as a competitor and as a player, we deal with it in a different aspect of free agency and trade rumors and all that type of stuff and I don't focus on it, man. Just focus on the task at hand and NBA is kind of one of those things -- you just go with the flow and when something happens, you adjust to it. But he's been amazing every day, just as far as his focus and what he's doing."
As the Knicks (17-38) get back into the swing of things with the 2019-20 season's second half set to begin in Friday's 7:30 p.m. game against the Indiana Pacers (32-23) at Madison Square Garden, Randle opened up on Miller's impact Wednesday. "I don't make those decisions, but from my personal standpoint, dealing with him on a daily basis has been absolutely amazing while he interacts with us, how he coaches the game -- everything.," Randle said. "We've responded really well to him and he's done a great job."
Since he replaced Fizdale with Dec. 7's 104-103 loss to the Pacers, Miller is 13-20 through his first 33 games in charge of the Knicks. Over that span, Randle has been an instant beneficiary of Miller's tweaks. Randle averaged 16.5 points on 44.2-percent shooting with 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists over 31.9 minutes in his first 22 games under Fizdale. Since Miller took over Dec. 7, Randle has 21.1 points on 46.2-percent shooting, 10.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists over 33.5 minutes in the past 33 games. "He just made some adjustments, so what he feels is best, as far as playing to guys' strengths and stuff like that," Randle said. "It's just the adjustments and all that type of stuff. So he's done a great job."

http://twitter.com/Rachel__Nichols/status/1230259261780963333
“Rose has always been known as much more ethical than most agents, and if he can deliver players and let a strong coach coach, this could work out,” the Thibodeau confidant said. “It’s never a sure thing because of ownership, but Thibs knows he can work with Rose and also knows he’d be able to bring in his people as well.”
“Rose has always been known as much more ethical than most agents, and if he can deliver players and let a strong coach coach, this could work out,” the Thibodeau confidant said. “It’s never a sure thing because of ownership, but Thibs knows he can work with Rose and also knows he’d be able to bring in his people as well.”
We're still a couple of months away from the Knicks earnestly engaging in a coaching search. So it's a bit too early to say who is -- and isn't -- a significant candidate for the job. But if the Knicks want to make another run at Villanova head coach Jay Wright this offseason, they'll need to make an extremely strong pitch to lure him out of Philadelphia.
An NCAA source said Tuesday that Wright would need to be "overwhelmed by the opportunity" to even consider leaving Villanova for another job. This echoes a report from The Athletic's Dana O'Neil, who noted Monday, "source told me Jay Wright is not going anywhere. Not to the Knicks. Not to the Sixers. Not to Oz. His house is for sale. He's not."
Forbes reported that the Knicks landing Wright is a "strong possibility." But the NCAA source on Tuesday downplayed the chances of a Wright-Knicks pairing.
League sources say Villanova coach Jay Wright could become the next head coach of the Knicks. “There is a strong possibility that Jay Wright in New York could happen,” one league source said. With his Hall of Fame coaching résumé, charismatic personality and easygoing manner with fans and the press, Wright has always seemed like a potential strong fit for the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.
Interim coach Mike Miller has won his share of Knicks’ fans by stabilizing the Knicks defense. He’s posted a three-game winning streak and a four-game winning streak that ended Sunday when the Knicks blew an eight-point overtime lead in Atlanta. Miller carries a 13-19 record entering the final game before the All-Star break Wednesday versus Orlando. If team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry were coming back next season, Miller had a shot to return if his record got to be around .500. But Mills is gone, Perry may be demoted or fired and incoming president Leon Rose is prepared to make a flashy coaching hire after the season.
According to NBA insiders, ex-Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau and former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy are expected on Rose’s short list. Neither Thibodeau nor Van Gundy have gained so much as an interview across the years. Owner James Dolan was said to hold a grudge against Van Gundy for quitting during the 2001-02 campaign.
Thibodeau is a Creative Artist Agency client and has worked with Rose, who will leave his position as head of CAA’s basketball department. According to a source, Van Gundy likes Rose and the feeling is mutual. Van Gundy and Thibodeau are still tight. Thibodeau was Van Gundy’s assistant during their Knicks days. “If Leon ever hired Jeff, the fans would love him,’’ one insider said.
LaVar says he not only stands by his decisions to take LaMelo Ball out of high school in the United States (he went to Lithuania and Australia) ... but says he's convinced Melo will be the #1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Ball says his dream would be for the NY Knicks to hire Mark Jackson as the next head coach -- who would then take Melo with their first pick. In fact, Ball says he sees a world in which all 3 of his sons sign with the Knicks and play in Madison Square Garden. He thinks his fam can save the franchise.
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September 18, 2021 | 9:28 pm EDT Update
September 18, 2021 | 5:41 pm EDT Update
You’re here for at least the next five years now that you’ve signed an extension. Do you allow yourself to think – or dream – about what might come over that time span since you’ve talked openly about wanting to win a title in New York? Have you allowed yourself to think about how things might progress? Julius Randle: Obviously, it’s a process. Everything is a process. We’ve been building this from the ground up. But for me, personally, that is the expectation (winning a title in New York). That’s what I want to happen within that time frame. There’s a lot of things, factors that go into that. So obviously you’ve got to weigh that stuff in.
Julius Randle: But as far as myself, I know Thibs (Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau) is thinking (it as well), it’s just win at all costs. For me personally, that’s just how I prepare myself. I prepare myself to compete at the highest level of our game. Like I said, there’s a lot of factors (that go into winning an NBA title). But I trust Leon (Knicks president Leon Rose), I trust Thibs, Wes (Knicks vice president William Wesley), our coaches, Scott (Knicks GM Scott Perry) – all these guys, I trust. That was part of my process in thinking of signing the extension and that’s my goal, that’s our goal as a team and the guys that are around us. We want to be able to say that we won a championship here in New York. I don’t think there’s any better feeling than that.
Did you guys see the video clip of Trae Young at the Garden with WWE? Do you care about that stuff? Julius Randle: Yeah I see it. But honestly, I don’t care. Obviously, that’s (for) entertainment purposes and all that (stuff), so I let people enjoy it. For me, honestly, I don’t care. I honestly didn’t even watch it. Knicks fans, they’re going to make a big deal out of it – they didn’t like it (laughs). But it’s all fun and games and hopefully they enjoyed it.
September 18, 2021 | 12:10 pm EDT Update

Rockets re-sign Dante Exum, waive Tyler Bey

The Rockets have officially re-signed guard Dante Exum and waived Tyler Bey to create a roster space for him, according to the NBA’s transactions log. Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw was the first to report the Bey transaction (Twitter link). With John Wall not expected to play for the team this season as it seeks to trade him, the Rockets were in the market for another point guard. The Rockets’ interest in Exum surfaced on Tuesday.
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Timberwolves sign Leandro Bolmaro

When the Timberwolves traded up to get Leandro Bolmaro last November in the 2020 NBA Draft (yes, it was less than a year ago… it still feels weird), the question was would it be a year or two before Bolmaro came over from Barcelona to play in the NBA. The answer is one. Minnesota reached a deal and Bolmaro will be with the Timberwolves in training camp, the team announced Saturday. This is not a surprise; he was expected to come over this season. He will be playing on a rookie scale contract.