New Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau grew up in New Britain, Connecticut, and still owns his old home, 85 miles from Knicks practice in Tarritown.
During his inaugural Zoom press conference on Thursday, Thibodeau called the new post his “dream job.” He said this four times.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” Thibodeau said. “This is my dream job. … Maybe part of that I grew up in Connecticut. My father, my family, we grew up Knicks fans. I’ve been there before, I understand New York very well. I think we have the best city in the world, the best arena and the best fans. I was there during the ’90s, and it was an incredible experience. “
For the first time in almost eight months, Knicks officially has a permanent head coach. They announced this on the first day of the relaunch of 22 NBA teams, when the Knicks are trying to restart their dead franchise, which missed the playoffs for seven years.
Larry Brown once called the Knicks his “dream job”; and left after a disaster of 17-65 years. Thibodeau is a former assistant coach from the glory days of the 1990s, who continued to coach with Bulkey and even broke the 13-year drought of the 2018 Minnesota playoffs.
But now Thibodeau may face a bigger challenge with the dead legs of James Dolan. When asked how he could turn into a long-running mess, Thibodeau did not shy away from mentioning the championship, which the team has not won in 47 years.
“You don’t make big jumps without going through every step,” he said. “So I think the first step is to establish work ethic and how we want to play. There is still a lot of work. One of the most important things when you study a team is just to look at performance and when you see your [net rating] that’s minus 6.54, you realize that a lot of work. And hopefully we can get the players to play for each other and start shaping those habits.
“Of course, the ultimate goal is to bring the championship back to a city where it’s synonymous with victory and championships, and that’s in New York.”
Knicks President Leon Rose will be on the hook if Thibodeau’s ancient methods don’t work. Rose, his former agent at the Agency for Creative Artists, said she would “hire comfort” in hiring Thibodeau because of their long-term relationship.
Rose called the 62-year-old Thibodeau “an ideal candidate for the job from the standpoint that he will require accountability, he will have development and is going to create a culture of winning.”
“We hired not only a great basketball coach, but also an elite coach,” Rose said. “Its principles and goals embody everything that Knicks basketball represents.”
On Saturday, Thibodeau agreed to a five-year deal. Some league insiders estimate that the deal could cost at least $ 25 million – even with a pandemic discount, which is likely to lead to his Knicks debut being played without fan visitors.
Thibodeau thanked Dolan for his comments and listed 15 coaches from whom he took treats – from Jeff Van Gundi to Bill Musselman. And Thibodeau called the former Kinks coaches he worked with the best staff ever. Guys like Brendan Malone, Don Cheney, Jeff Knicks, Steve Clifford, Andy Greer, Mike Malone are a lot of head coaches in the league today.
Thibodeau reached the playoffs for the Timberwolves, but accusations he did not link to the young Minnesota players led to his dismissal in January 2019.
Thibodeau declined to elaborate on Minnesota.
“It was more of a general adjustment, a team that hasn’t won much in a long time,” he said. “So I think you take from every experience, but every experience is different.”
Sources said Thibodeau was intrigued by the potential discovery in Houston, but said he was attracted to the scissors because of the flexibility of the hat and their wealth of samples (the first seven rounds in the next four drafts).
“The three main reasons I’ve been so attracted to this job are the current registry, which we have now is young and talented, and there is room for growth,” Thibodeau said. “It simply came to my notice then. The second is to work for Leon and Wes [William Wesley], two people I’ve known for a very long time. Third, it’s all purchased drafts, as well as the space of the cap. We have many different ways to improve the team ”.
Thibodeau tried to tarnish his reputation as a basketball-obsessed sergeant with no humor and no other life. He joked with this longtime writer Knicks, saying, “I can’t believe you’re still around,” and denied that all he did during unemployment was attend the practices of other teams – which he did a lot.
“I went on vacation a couple of times,” said Thibodeau. “I know people don’t think I’m doing it. But I went and put on the beach in Miami for a couple of weeks ”.
The Knicks interviewed 11 candidates for seven weeks, but Thibodeau was constantly reported as the leader who preceded.
“We’ve been very careful in this search,” Rose said. “We have been open and heard from many different candidates with different philosophies. The diligence of the search is what we thought the fans deserved. We wanted to do it right. “