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
Original story follows.
Jason Kidd may just have learned a thing or two from working under Frank Vogel with the Lakers this year, because stop me if this sounds familiar: A big-market team expected to hire a well-known coach has hit a snag in contract negotiations, and may look at a former head coach whose last stop didn’t end well to fill the position.
The Knicks coaching search has turned messy with Jason Kidd emerging as a frontrunner after contract negotiations with Tom Thibodeau stalled, a plugged-in NBA source told the Daily News.
Kidd, an unquestioned Hall of Fame player, is viewed by the Knicks as a conduit to attracting free agents, but there are also people in the organization who are skeptical of his coaching ability following underwhelming stints in Brooklyn and Milwaukee. As a result, the Kidd hire would come with the caveat of the front office picking at least some of his assistant coaches.
“It’s basically to save Kidd from himself,” the source said.
Well first of all, I have to say, leaking that they don’t think their coach is good before even hiring him is a new one for the Knicks, who evidently are just skipping the steps where they talk up the new hire before undermining them at every turn and then eventually scapegoating them for decades of organizational ineptitude. Might as well get a head start, I guess.
It goes almost without saying that Kidd probably shouldn’t take this job — given that it would likely be his last head coaching shot if he flames out, which every Knicks coach does — but it’s not the first time he’s been connected to it. The Knicks were already granted permission to interview him by the Lakers after reports of “strong internal interest” in him leaked to the media. For his part, Kidd is reportedly “eager” to be a head coach again, and has also been linked to the Brooklyn Nets opening.
Kidd has been a valued member of the Lakers coaching staff this season, serving as a trusted and respected voice to players and building a great rapport with Vogel. There have been no rumors that he’s trying to take Vogel’s job after Kidd attempted coups at both of his last stops, and Kidd has refused all media interviews unless they are to talk about one of his players or Vogel. He has done all the right things so far during this stop in L.A.
Is that enough — in conjunction with his connection to a certain Greek, 2021 free agent — to get him a gig with the Knicks? It seems like it just might be. The impact this will have on the Lakers this season either way will likely be minimal — even if hired, most assistant coaches finish out their current playoff run with their team — but moving forward would leave a top assistant spot open on the Lakers’ bench, making this situation very much worth keeping an eye on as it progresses.