Reports: Nets have strong interest in Tom Thibodeau as coach, will hire GM first

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Tom Thibodeau has a reputation for getting the most out of players, pushing them hard and getting them to play over their heads.

The Brooklyn Nets are going to need a lot of that in the coming years, considering the state of their rebuilding efforts.

So it makes sense that the Nets have interest in Thibodeau to take over as their coach, but they want to hire a GM first, reports Marc Stein and Mike Mazzeo at ESPN.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Nets, while in the early stages of a search for both a new lead executive and a new coach in the wake of ousting general manager Billy King and Lionel Hollins, are likely to pursue Thibodeau once they can secure a successor to King….

…there is a growing sense in league circles that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants to hire established NBA names with considerable experience in the league. Because of that, the appeal of Thibodeau is obvious. As perhaps the most accomplished coach available, Thibodeau posted a record of 255-139 (.647) during his five seasons in Chicago.

Does Thibodeau switch pizza style loyalties based on who pays him?

It’s easy to understand the appeal of Thibodeau, he had fantastic success with the Bulls. But you can ask John Paxson and Gar Forman in Chicago how much it matters that whoever gets the GM job in Brooklyn is on the same page as the strong-willed Thibodeau. This is a guy who pushes back against analytics or suggestions of resting players, and he has strong opinions on what kinds of players he will want on his roster.

The Nets have a massive rebuilding project ahead — they do not control their own first-round pick until 2019, and no matter what owner Mikhail Prokhorov thinks this is going to take years — so picking the best GM for that rebuild is the most important decision. By far. Then they can worry about the coach.