After nearly a week of speculation, the New York Knicks made the hiring of Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach official on Thursday morning.
“Tom Thibodeau is a proven winner who gets the most out of the players and teams that he has coached,” Knicks president Leon Rose said. “He will bring leadership, accountability, and a hard-working mentality to our organization. We are excited to bring him back to New York and look forward to collaborating with him and his staff toward a successful future.
The 62-year-old spent six seasons as an assistant with the Knicks before nabbing head-coaching jobs with the Chicago Bulls from 2010-2015 and the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2017-2019.
With the Bulls, Thibodeau helped develop the likes of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler into stars while creating Chicago’s best contender since the days of Michael Jordan. They made the postseason in each of his five seasons, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011.
“I’m 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 in and respect for,” Thibodeau said. “I know what New York is like when the Knicks are successful and there is nothing comparable. I look forward to being a part of what we are building here and can’t wait to get to work.”
Thibodeau was with the Knicks when they made their unlikely run to the 1999 NBA Finals where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs.
In the 21 seasons since that Finals appearance, the Knicks have made the Eastern Conference Finals just once while making the postseason just six times.
Fourteen-different head coaches have tried and failed to turn the program around over the last two decades including six bosses in the last seven, playoff-less years.
With new leadership in the form of Rose and executive vice president William Wesley, the hope is that Thibodeau can provide the much-needed stability the Knicks have lacked for so long while building up their core of young players.
The Knicks won’t find out their next move and asset until the NBA Draft Lottery on Aug. 25 where they are poised to land a top-six pick.