The New York Knicks are looking for a new head coach following the firing of Derek Fisher on Monday. Team president Phil Jackson confirmed that Kurt Rambis will remain the interim head coach for the rest of the season, but who could Jackson have in mind for the long-term?
According to ESPN.com NBA writer Brian Windhorst, league sources believe Brian Shaw and Luke Walton are top long-term replacement candidates. Shaw was fired by the Denver Nuggets in 2015 after compiling a record of 56-85 in just under two seasons, and Walton guided the Golden State Warriors to a 39-4 record as interim head coach earlier this season when Steve Kerr took a leave of absence to rehabilitate his back.
Both are former players under Jackson, and advocates of the triangle offense, but so was Fisher, and now he’s out of a job. Aside from Shaw and Walton, who else could Jackson take a look at for the Knicks head-coaching job? How about a former NBA Coach of the Year? From ESPN senior writer Ian O’Connor:
Source close to Tom Thibodeau: “The #Knicks are the job he’s always wanted. He would crawl to Madison Square Garden.”
— Ian O’Connor (@Ian_OConnor) February 8, 2016
The Chicago Bulls made the playoffs in all five seasons that Thibodeau was the head coach before he was fired in 2015. Prior to taking the Bulls job, Thibodeau was a longtime assistant with five different NBA teams, including the Knicks from 1996 to 2004 as part of Jeff Van Gundy’s staff. He won his first championship as assistant with the Boston Celtics in 2008.
Thibodeau will be highly sought after to fill a number of vacancies around the NBA, but the Knicks might be his preferred destination as of now.