Why the Knicks and Tom Thibodeau should work out an extension this offseason

NBA: Utah Jazz at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Knicks hired Tom Thibodeau to be their head coach in 2020, the hope was that his track record of leading teams to playoff appearances would turn the franchise around. Well, that is exactly what has happened, and now the two sides are in a position to work out a long-term extension as soon as this summer, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick:

“His current deal runs through the 2024-25 season, but league sources say he hopes to secure his future with the Knicks when both sides plan to revisit the topic this summer,” Amick wrote.

Tom Thibodeau has been a big reason for the Knicks’ success this season

Despite dealing with a plethora of injuries to star players, Thibodeau currently has his Knicks at 42-28 on the season and only one game back of the third seed in the Eastern Conference. In his first three seasons as Knicks head coach, he helped the team reach the playoffs twice, including a second-round appearance last season, and is bound to be back in the postseason this year. He also won the league’s Coach of The Year award after his first season as Knicks head coach.

Amick added in his article that the national perception of how players like Thibodeau’s coaching is the opposite of what it actually is. Speaking to Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo, he detailed how the team is more unified and focused as a group under the reigns of Thibodeau:

“From the outside world, there’s always (a different view),” DiVincenzo said to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. “But in our house — in-house — we have a good dynamic and we enjoy it and everybody enjoys being around each other. To the outside world, you don’t really know. All you know is perception. All you know is the history from other teams (Thibodeau has coached) and his years with different organizations. But we’ve had plenty of rest days, plenty of off days.”

Thibodeau is already one of the franchise’s longest-tenured head coaches

Thibodeau is already the sixth longest-tenured head coach in franchise history, having coached 306 regular season games for a 167-139 record, and a 7-9 postseason record. The last time a Knicks head coach stayed in that position for at least four seasons before Thibodeau was Mike D’Antoni from 2009-12.

By next season, Thibodeau will have passed Hubie Brown for the fourth-most games coached for New York and can pass Jeff Van Gundy for third if he is still around for the 2025-26 season.

It would come as a surprise if the Knicks are unable to reach an extension with Thibodeau. He has already given the franchise more sustainable success than at any other point in the 2000s, and his ability to develop players that would otherwise be considered afterthoughts on other teams has made the team look like a serious threat to compete for an NBA championship.

On top of that, the organization’s respect for Thibodeau has spanned decades, as he was an assistant coach for the Knicks from 1996-2003, which included an NBA Finals appearance in 1999.

Even if the Knicks come up short in this year’s playoffs, they still have a lot to look forward to in the future as Jalen Brunson continues to blossom into a star and will hopefully have a healthier roster alongside him. Thibodeau has earned the right to be given a chance to elevate this team to new heights this season and beyond.

Follow this writer on X: @DylanBacker_

Mentioned in this article:

More about: