Ad Spot

Knicks bring Tom Thibodeau back to New York as new coach

NEW YORK — Tom Thibodeau brought the Chicago Bulls to their greatest success since Michael Jordan.

He returned the Minnesota Timberwolves to the playoffs after a 13-year absence.

All the while, there was one challenge he sought. He has seen what it’s like in New York when the Knicks win and wanted to be the coach to make it happen again.

“This a dream come true for me,” Thibodeau said. “This is my dream job.”

He got it Thursday, when the Knicks brought the former NBA Coach of the Year back to the organization he helped reach the NBA Finals as an assistant.

Thibodeau was an assistant with the Knicks from 1996-2003, part of Jeff Van Gundy’s staff when they made a run from the No. 8 seed to the finals in 1999. He’s had success all around the NBA since he left and the Knicks have had almost none, but that hasn’t dampened his desire to come back.

“Maybe part of that is I grew up in Connecticut. My father, my family, we grew up as Knick fans,” Thibodeau said during a Zoom press conference. “I think I experienced it during the ‘90s that there’s no better place to be than Madison Square Garden. And so I love challenges, I love that city, I love the arena, I love the fans and I’m excited about the team.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Thibodeau, 62, is 352-246 in eight seasons coaching Chicago and Minnesota. He was the Coach of the Year in 2011 in his first season with the Bulls, whom he led to 50 wins in three of his five seasons.

The Bulls had the best record in the league in each of his first two seasons and their 62 wins in Thibodeau’s rookie campaign were their most since 1997-98, when they won the last of six championships behind Jordan.

Then Thibodeau went to Minnesota, where a 47-win season in 2017-18 got the Timberwolves back to the postseason for the first time since 2004.

New Knicks President Leon Rose watched Thibodeau’s work all those years, sometimes when players he represented as an agent played for his teams, and felt his friend was the ideal candidate for the Knicks because he would demand accountability, develop players and bring a winning culture to New York.

“I mean there’s no doubt that our relationship gives me a level of comfort, but I know and I’ve watched him work over the last 20 years and the fact that he’s won everywhere he’s been was an overriding factor,” Rose said.

Meanwhile, the Knicks have done little winning during that time.

New York has won just one playoff series since Van Gundy resigned early in the 2001-02 season and just completed its seventh straight losing season.

The Knicks fired David Fizdale 22 games into the season and finished under interim coach Mike Miller, going 21-45. Rose then conducted a long search before tabbing Thibodeau to be the 13th different person to coach the Knicks since Van Gundy.

Knicks leadership sees in Thibodeau’s teams what’s long been missing at Madison Square Garden: a willingness to play as a team and compete every night.

“We, along with our fan base, expect these qualities to be on display on a daily basis,” general manager Scott Perry said.

Thibodeau also reached the finals twice as an assistant to Doc Rivers with the Boston Celtics, winning the 2008 championship. He is regarded as one of the league’s best and most demanding defensive coaches.

He will try to bring back the defensive intensity that the Knicks were known for in the 1990s. His teams twice led the league in fewest points per game allowed in his eight seasons as a head coach and ranked in the top 10 three other times.

His last season was his rockiest. He was fired by the Timberwolves midway through the 2018-19 season that began when star Jimmy Butler sought to be traded.

But he isn’t afraid of another rebuilding project, saying he liked the Knicks’ youth and pointing to the draft picks and salary cap space available in coming years.

He hopes to get started working with the players in August if the NBA approves a plan to allow the eight teams who didn’t make the restart at Walt Disney World to begin workouts in their home market.

“I can’t wait to get going,” Thibodeau said.

Mower County

MDH reports 6 new COVID-19 cases in Mower County

News

Minn. congressional hopefuls stress their farm bona fides

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Man charged with breaking into apartment, holding woman hostage

News

1.2 million seek jobless aid after $600 federal check ends

Business

Hy-Vee stores now accept SNAP/EBT as payment for grocery pick-up orders

Health

MDH reports 4 new COVID-19 cases in Mower County

News

World responds to Lebanon’s plight, France’s Macron to visit

Local Government

Mayor candidate Q&A: Making Austin a welcoming community

Mower County

County board allocates CARES Act funds

Mower County

A change of seasons

Local Government

Council aiming for four percent tax levy increase

News

Minneapolis mayor: City seeks right mentors for new officers

Local Government

Council prioritizes Hormel Foundation grant requests

Local Government

Council looking to add more land to city deer hunt

Mower County

Friends of the Public Library hosting virtual costume contest

News

Voters sue Walz to block face masks at Minnesota polls

News

Some critics see sexism in debate over Biden VP

News

2020 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunt Opener postponed

Mower County

3 new COVID-19 cases brings cases to 1,084

News

‘A line in the sand’: Both sides dig in on virus relief bill

Mower County

Zonta International commemorated World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Mower County

‘Karl’s Tourney’ is on with an online fundraiser

Health

Weekend sees 17 COVID-19 case increase in Mower County

News

Virus relief bill remains up in air as negotiations resume