The Knicks’ first choice for their next head coach is landing Tom Thibodeau, and the two sides have already discussed contract parameters, according to a source. However, no agreement has been reached, and if it doesn’t pan out, it could open the door for Jason Kidd.
Thibodeau was considered the favorite for the job, but as The Post reported recently, Kidd gave forth “a great interview” in his second talk that wowed Knicks brass. The Post reported he was considered the main long-shot threat.
A source still gave Thibodeau a “65 percent” margin of landing the job.
An NBA source who spoke to Kidd Thursday night told The Post Kidd, now a Lakers assistant inside the Orlando bubble, really wants the Knicks job.
A report Friday stated Thibodeau’s contract talks may have reached an impasse during this economic crunch caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s unclear if this is a negotiating ploy. David Fizdale landed a four-year, fully guaranteed $22 million deal that owner James Dolan is still on the hook for.
Dolan has been hit hard by the pandemic because of all the empty venues he owns beyond the Garden. Reports Thursday stated the job had not been formally offered to any candidate. A source said Friday a decision won’t be made until next week.
The Post reported earlier this week Thibodeau, while close to Leon Rose, is not as tight with new senior vice president William Wesley as in years past. Wesley may have as much, if not more influence than Rose.
“Over recent years they really haven’t had much connection,” one NBA source said.
Meanwhile, it’s known that Thibodeau, the former Bulls and Timberwolves coach, is intrigued by the Rockets job if it opens after Houston is eliminated, and he could have been given an assurance there. Thibodeau is still getting paid by Minnesota next season.
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Rockets GM Daryl Morey is considered a big fan of Thibodeau’s, and Thibodeau attended Morey’s Sloan Analytics Conference this past year. Mike D’Antoni is an impending free agent.
Kidd, who was fired by the Bucks in January 2018 with a 23-22 record, is close with Giannis Antetokounmpo and is seen by some in the organization as a potential top recruiter for free agents. ESPN’s Jalen Rose gave his support to Kidd’s candidacy last week.
“LeBron loves Kidd,” one team executive told The Post. “But Giannis swears by him.”
Kidd never managed to get the Bucks out of the first round despite taking them to the playoffs twice and never won more than 42 games as Milwaukee’s head coach. But he’s made the playoffs every season as a head coach, including his lone season with Brooklyn.
But his departure was messy with the Nets as he sought a power play that backfired.
Kidd’s last season as a player came when the Knicks were 54-28 in 2012-13 and the bottom fell out in terms of team leadership once he retired to coach the Nets.
“He has a knack for developing young guys, giving them confidence,” an NBA source told The Post recently. “He also knows how to win with vets and understands the pressure of big markets. And he’s fixed teams — Nets, Knicks Milwaukee.”
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