NBA Rumors: Knicks Hire Tom Thibodeau Over Lakers’ Assistant Jason Kidd
Tom Thibodeau, Lakers
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

When Luke Walton and the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a mutual separation a disappointing 37-win season, general manager Rob Pelinka had at least one clear aspect as part of the plan to makeover the coaching staff.

At the center of the vision was Jason Kidd, a former NBA champion who had mixed results in his time as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. Pelinka’s insistence on the addition of Kidd reportedly drove away Tyronn Lue.

When Frank Vogel took the job as head coach, rumors swirled that the team would promote Kidd by season’s end. Although those whispers seem to have been proven false, largely due to Vogel’s success and relationship with LeBron James, where Kidd fits long-term is unclear.

Particularly with Kidd having been the source of interest from other teams. One of them was the New York Knicks, but they instead hired Tom Thibodeau to fill their coaching vacancy, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

The New York Knicks and Tom Thibodeau are finalizing a five-year deal to make him the franchise’s next head coach, sources tell ESPN.

It comes on the heels of the Knicks being said to have pivoted and having Kidd at the top of their list, per New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy:

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.

Kidd previously received permission to interview with the Knicks back in June. He played for the team during the 2012-2013 season, the last year of his NBA career.

The franchise has yet to clinch the playoffs since Kidd’s retirement. The Knicks’ coaching situation has largely been a state of constant limbo. They fired David Fizdale just 22 games into his second year, and hadn’t given interim head coach Mike Miller any assurance that he wouldn’t be relegated back to an assistant.

Frank Vogel sees change on horizon

The NBA has put a spotlight on the fight for equality during the season restart, giving players an even bigger platform to speak their minds. Vogel has been impressed with the level of change that is coming as a result.

“I’m hopeful all of America has been educated over the last couple of months since we’ve reached this tipping point. It’s time that enough is enough,” Vogel said. “It starts with education, but we’re in a position right now to affect change with more strength than ever before.

“We’re hopeful this restart gives us that opportunity, that platform, to initiate these conversations and help affect the change that our country so desperately needs.”

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