The Knicks won’t begin any coaching search until they find out whether their season is over, according to sources.
That could come as soon as Friday night, should commissioner Adam Silver finalize a format for the season’s restart following a conference call with the team owners.
If the NBA brings back all 30 teams or just 24, the Knicks will be led by interim coach Mike Miller. Anything different and team president Leon Rose can go about a coaching search that still will include Miller, who is well-liked by the organization and figures to return in some capacity.
The Post reported May 8 that league insiders believe former Bulls and Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau is the favorite. On Wednesday, The Athletic reported former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is expected to receive an interview.
Atkinson has been linked to the Knicks’ opening ever since he was fired by the Nets in March before the season was suspended.
Thibodeau and Atkinson are former Knicks assistants. The Post reported the Nets and Houston also have interest in Thibodeau – which could create a dilemma.
The Rockets and Nets are in playoff position and will be part of the NBA restart regardless. The Rockets, whose coach is Mike D’Antoni, could play deep into August when Thibodeau is already signed, sealed and delivered to the Garden. D’Antoni is a free agent and not expected to return to Houston.
Thibodeau is a former Rockets assistant and would have some interest in the Houston job, as its roster is loaded. However, former Knicks and Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, who still lives in Houston, may be a top candidate there.
The advantage of Thibodeau wanting a return to New York is the defensive wizard has worked with Rose before as a client of Creative Artists Agency. Some insiders believe Atkinson could be a better fit than Thibodeau because he’s reputedly better suited for a younger roster that is rebuilding.
As for The Post’s report about the Knicks, Rockets and Nets having interest, Thibodeau said earlier this month on ESPN: “They’re just rumors. And this time of year, everything is on hold. Normally you would have some openings and right now there aren’t any openings. So you don’t want to speculate on what jobs could open. That’s what you have an agent for. He’ll certainly, at some point, look at if there is an opportunity, whether it be a good match or not.”
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