Five best options if the Knicks choose to fire Tom Thibodeau in 2022-23

Broadcast ESPN NBA Finals
May 27, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; ESPN broadcasters Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen ahead of game six of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Thibodeau signed a five-year contract with the New York Knicks in 2020, but he’s already in a hot seat. The Knicks have only an average record to begin the 2022-23 season and rumors have begun of the Knicks head coaching candidates in 2022-23.

Thibodeau is currently one of the top NBA head coaches and a two-time winner of the NBA Coach of the Year award, but Knicks management doubts he can bring the glory days back to New York.

Knicks Head Coach Candidates in 2022-23

Tom Thibodeau’s contract with the Knicks runs until 2025 and it will cost the franchise dearly if they decide to cut ties with the coach, who has been in the league since 1989.

However, that doesn’t stop us from listing the best head coaches available to the Knicks right now.

Mark Jackson

We start with the list of the Knicks head coach candidates in 2022-23 with a man any die-hard New York fan would love to see on the Knicks bench. Mark Jackson is a former Knick who was drafted by the team with the 18th pick in the 1987 NBA Draft and won the Rookie of the Year award. He is a person who has been part of the Knicks’ successful period and he is exactly what the Knicks need right now.

Jackson spent 17 years in the league as a player and ranks fifth on the NBA All-time assistant leaders list. He was named head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 2011 and is credited to many as the creator of the Warriors dynasty.

However, the team fired him in 2014 and he has been a TV analyst ever since. Jackson had a 121-109 record in three seasons with the Warriors. He is someone respected in the Knicks organization and it is time to see him back in the league as the new Knicks head coach.

Jeff van Gundy

When we talk about the good old Knicks days, one name has to be mentioned. Jeff Van Gundy was the last coach to bring Playoff success to New York.

Van Gundy was an assistant with the Knicks from 1989 and made a name for himself when Pat Riley was the head coach. After Riley left New York, the Knicks named Don Nelson as the new head coach, but Van Gundy soon got that job.

He spent six seasons as head coach for the Knicks from 1996 to 2001. Van Gundy was the coach who led the eight seeded Knicks to the 1999 NBA Finals where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs. Later in his career, Van Gundy coached the Houston Rockets for four years from 2003 to 2007 and has since been mentioned as a potential head coach for the Knicks.

Van Gundy’s return to the Knicks will bring back the culture from when the Knicks were a scary team in the league, and he definitely deserves another chance with the team.

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson was the Spurs point guard on the team that defeated the Knicks in the aforementioned 1999 NBA Finals. In his 15 years in the league as a player, Johnson earned the nickname “Floor General” for his leadership skills.

It was only a matter of time before he started his coaching career and he did so right after his 2004 retirement from the Dallas Mavericks. He was Don Nelson’s assistant for a year and then took over the team as head coach.

Johnson led the Mavericks to the NBA Finals in his rookie year as head coach, which speaks to his ability. He became the fastest coach in NBA history with 100 wins, a record later broken by Thibodeau.

Johnson and the Mavs split in 2008 and he took over the New Jersey Nets, which then became the Brooklyn Nets. He didn’t see much success in Brooklyn and left in 2012. In 2015, Johnson took over the University of Alabama basketball team, where he spent four seasons. He is a television commentator and waits for the next coaching call.

Scott Brooks

Scott Brooks is another former NBA point guard on this list. In his 13 seasons in the NBA, he spent the 1996-1997 season with the Knicks and was coached by Jeff Van Gundy. Shortly after retiring from playing, Brooks began his coaching career, spending five seasons as an assistant in Denver, Sacramento, and Seattle.

Brooks was named head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008, shortly after the team moved from Seattle. Brooks is the coach who led the fledgling Thunder team to the 2012 NBA Finals where they lost to the Miami Heat.

In 2015, he was fired by the Thunder after the team missed the Playoffs for the first time in six seasons. The following season, Brooks took over the Washington Wizards, where he stayed until 2021 and has been an assistant with the Portland Trail Blazers ever since.

Terry Stotts

Terry Stotts has been out of the league since 2021 after nine seasons as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers. He led the Blazers to the Western Conference Finals in 2019, the Blazers’ deepest Playoff run in 20 years.

Stotts has coached over 1,000 games in the NBA with a winning percentage of .515. He has been in the league since 1992 and was the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons and also coached the Milwaukee Bucks for two seasons between 2005 and 2007.

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