New York Knicks Head Coach Tom Thibodeau
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New York Knicks and Tom Thibodeau to Engage in extension talks this offseason

Published March 23, 2024 at 6:05 PM

The New York Knicks have endured a season riddled with injuries, yet they remain in the hunt for homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference, largely attributed to the leadership of head coach Tom Thibodeau. Through his guidance, the team has embraced a resilient "next-man-up" mentality, enabling them to excel even in the absence of key players. Presently, discussions loom between New York and Thibodeau regarding a contract extension. Thibodeau's current contract is slated to expire after the 2024-25 season. Both parties express interest in exploring an extension, with talks expected to kick off this offseason.

Thibodeau is wrapping up his fourth season at the helm of the Knicks, boasting a regular season record of 166-139. Moreover, he holds a playoff record of 7-9, highlighted by last season's first-round victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Tom Thibodeau, a recipient of two Coach of the Year accolades, first earned the honor in 2011 by transforming a mediocre Chicago Bulls team into a formidable force, achieving a remarkable 62-win season and a conference finals berth. His second win came in 2021, when he revitalized the struggling New York Knicks, leading them to a surprising 41-31 record and securing the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.

In both instances, Thibodeau met the primary criterion for winning the award: orchestrating a turnaround for teams with a recent history of struggles. This season, several strong contenders for the award include Mark Daigneault of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chris Finch of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Jamahl Mosley of the Orlando Magic.

Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics also stands out, as he has demonstrated significant improvement in his coaching abilities compared to his rookie season. However, Thibodeau is less likely to claim a third Coach of the Year trophy, as the Knicks were already expected to perform well this season and have largely met those expectations. The award typically recognizes coaches who exceed expectations, although it's worth noting the irony that the award is named after Red Auerbach, known for maintaining excellence rather than dramatic turnarounds.

This marks Thibodeau's most remarkable performance on a day-to-day basis throughout his career, which is quite a statement considering his track record. One way to highlight this is to observe how the Knicks have persevered since December, when Mitch Robinson was sidelined, and into January, when Julius Randle and OG Anunoby joined him on the injury list.

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Despite missing 60 percent of their starting lineup on most nights since late January, the Knicks still hold the 4th seed. Remarkably, they reached 40 wins in just 67 games, the quickest since 2013 and the second-fastest since 2001. However, Thibodeau humbly downplays his role in this achievement, attributing it instead to his team's unwavering belief in the "Next Man Up" mentality.

On March 10, the Knicks suffered a humiliating 79-73 loss to the Sixers at the Garden, where they seemed overwhelmed by their ongoing absences. Despite expectations for Thibodeau to express frustration post-game, he remained oddly philosophical. Since then, the Knicks have won all four games, embarking on an impressive 3-0 start to their final West Coast trip of the season. A crucial matchup awaits them in Denver on Thursday night.

Thibodeau, seasoned in navigating the NBA's unpredictable nature, possesses a deep understanding of the league's dynamics. He maintains that by fulfilling his responsibilities effectively, his team can rebound from adversity and avoid becoming overly complacent after notable victories.

Source New York Post : Tom Thibodeau has never been better than this
Source RealGM : Knicks, Tom Thibodeau To Talk Extension This Summer
March 23   |   2 answers
New York Knicks and Tom Thibodeau to Engage in extension talks this offseason

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