Report: Tom Thibodeau-Knicks contract negotiations stall; Jason Kidd now frontrunner

Knicks coaching candidate Jason Kidd
Tom O'Connor/NBAE via Getty Images

The Knicks’ coaching search started with Tom Thibodeau as favorite. Heavy favorite. He remained frontrunner after interviewing. He remained frontrunner after Jason Kidd reportedly wowed in an interview.

But now that Thibodeau and the Knicks are talking contract…

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

The Knicks coaching search has turned messy with Jason Kidd emerging as a frontrunner after contract negotiations with Tom Thibodeau stalled, a plugged-in NBA source told the Daily News.

Thibodeau has long been considered top choice but a source said James Dolan has thus far been unwilling to agree to his contract requests. It’s still possible the sides reach an agreement, but it would require a concession.

The last time Dolan objected to contract demands of management’s coaching choice, the Knicks lost Steve Kerr to the Warriors. That worked out terribly for New York, which instead hired Derek Fisher.

At least Dolan didn’t just promise autonomy to new president Leon Rose, like the owner did for Phil Jackson just before undermining Jackson’s selected coach.

Of course, merely not being hypocritical this time doesn’t absolve Dolan. The Knicks are the NBA’s most valuable team. They can gain a competitive advantage by spending more on coaches. If Rose believes Thibodeau is the best coach for the job, Dolan should pay a reasonably high amount to hire Thibodeau.

There are reasons for suspicion about these negotiations. Before getting hired by New York, Rose worked as an agent for CAA, which represents Thibodeau. But if Dolan doesn’t trust Rose in these situations, Dolan never should have hired Rose.

We’ll see where this goes. Everyone is trying to gain leverage. The Knicks want to show they have other options. Thibodeau wants to paint the Knicks as cheap. Kidd wants to get his name prominently in a head-coaching search.

But uncritically assuming Thibodeau will be New York’s next coach? That’s over.