Interim coach Mike Miller has gained his share of Knicks fans by stabilizing the Knicks defense. He had a three-game winning streak and a four-game winning streak that ended on Sunday when the Knicks in Atlanta had an eight-point advantage in extra time.
Miller has a 13:19 record ahead of Wednesday's all-star break against Orlando.
If team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry were to return next season, Miller would have a chance to return if his record was 0.500. But Mills is gone, Perry can be downgraded or fired, and the new President Leon Rose is ready to hire an eye-catching coach after the season.
According to NBA insiders, ex-Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau and ex-Knicks trainer Jeff Van Gundy are expected on Rose's shortlist.
Neither Thibodeau nor Van Gundy have won as much as an interview over the years. Owner James Dolan is said to have resented Van Gundy for quitting during the 2001/02 campaign.
Thibodeau is a client of the Creative Artist Agency and has worked with Rose, who will give up her position as head of the CAA basketball department. According to a source, Van Gundy likes Rose and the feeling is mutual.
Van Gundy and Thibodeau are still close. Thibodeau was Van Gundy's assistant during her Knicks days.
"If Leon would ever hire Jeff, fans would love him," said an insider.
When Mills and Perry did their coaching for David Fizdale in 2018, Thibodeau was president / coach of the Timberwolves and Van Gundy was enjoying life as ABC / ESPN's top game analyst.
Mills and Perry didn't think Van Gundy, 58, was a good choice as they were looking for a coach who could connect with the young players. Van Gundy was interested, however.
While Van Gundy's absence from the NBA has been an obstacle since 2006/07, he dusted off the rust in 2018 as the coach of the USA team for the World Cup qualification. Van Gundy was in the USA team training camp last August, helping coach Gregg Popovich.
"He's better than most of us as a coach," said Popovich on his trip to the garden last February. "The circumstances and this kind of things, personal situations and timing have to be right, but he is certainly someone who would make a franchise better than it is now."
If the game has moved from the low to the 3-point line since Van Gundy took office, the defense schemes are similar, and Van Gundy has always made his Knicks teams play D.
Van Gundy was extremely positive about Miller because he still hopes that the former G-League coach from Knicks will get the full-time appearance.
The comparisons between Miller and Van Gundy have developed well. Miller was also a dark name, as Van Gundy adopted it for Don Nelson in 1996.
If Van Gundy were hired for a second stay in the garden, it wouldn't be surprising if Miller were offered a job on his team. Van Gundy's Knicks record is 248-172.
The fantasy is whether Thibodeau would agree to return to New York as Van Gundy's deputy head coach at the turn of the millennium.
"I want to train," said Thibodeau The Athletic in December. "I always knew that."
Thibodeau was unable to give the wolves the same magical touch from his bull stint. Sources said that he teased the young players with his taskmaster style, which also included marathon exercises. The Knicks are in rebuild mode and will be young next season.
Karl Anthony Towns has reportedly not enjoyed the Thibodeau experience with the Timberwolves. This is only relevant since the Knicks have seen cities as a potential trade target when disillusioned with life in cold Minnesota and the ongoing losses. Trading from D & # 39; Angelo Russell to Minnesota did not help the Knicks.
Rose is closer to Thibodeau than Van Gundy. Thibodeau hired Rick Brunson, Rose's first client, as an assistant coach in Minnesota.
If owner James Dolan had gone to Rich Kleiman with another guy / manager type who works with Kevin Durant, Mark Jackson would have been an eye-catcher for the Knicks job. Dolan has not considered Kleiman as he fears that Knicks fans still blame Kleiman for not delivering KD.
However, Jackson's candidacy with Rose and William Wesley, who may have the say, is not dead. John Calipari, Wesley's buddy, has ruled out training the Knicks.
Rose gets his ducks in a row when he leaves CAA and his customers, so the Knicks have not officially made the move.
However, the presence of the artist, who is based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, is the first time that Van Gundy and Thibodeau have had the chance to return to the garden, despite rumors erroneous in the past.