The New York Knicks have been in need of a new head coach since firing David Fizdale in December.
And while interim coach Mike Miller will get a "look" as a candidate for the job, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Tom Thibodeau is the "heavy favorite" to get the position.
Bondy further reported that the Knicks will interview Kenny Atkinson and maybe Kentucky's John Calipari but, ultimately, the job is Thibodeau's to lose.
The 62-year-old is reportedly so convinced he'll be calling plays in New York that he's already been on the phone in the hopes of building a new staff to join him.
The 2011 Coach of the Year has a long-standing relationship with Knicks president and former superagent Leon Rose, who has been tasked with the job of turning New York into a contender sooner rather than later, and Thibodeau is known for being a "win-now" coach who leans on toughness and defense.
While Thibodeau's last stop as coach and president of basketball operations of the Minnesota Timberwolves ended abruptly after a 22-point blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers and two months after Jimmy Butler was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, he has maintained his interest in getting back on the sideline.
"They're just rumors. That's what it is," Thibodeau said a month ago on ESPN's First Take. "This time of year everything is on hold. Normally, you would have some openings, and right now there aren't any openings. So you don't want to speculate on what jobs could open, but that's what you have an agent for. He'll certainly look at, if there is an opportunity, whether it'd be a good match or not.
"I'm still under contract with Minnesota, so I feel like I'm in a position where I can be patient."
Thibodeau was an assistant coach for over 20 years, which culminated with a championship with the Boston Celtics. He then made the jump to head coach, spending five years with the Chicago Bulls and three with the Timberwolves.
His overall winning percentage is .589 with a 352-246 record, but he will have his hands full if he lands in New York.
The Knicks have had problems landing top-tier free agents, so there is a dearth of talent needed to make the leap back into contention.
Right now, the best player in New York is Julius Randle, who is averaging a team-high 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
The team is hopeful about the development of its young core of Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett, but Thibs has been maligned in the past for his inability to connect with young talent, with Karl-Anthony Towns being the most recent example.
New York is expected to land a top-five draft pick this summer and is said to be interested in selecting LeMelo Ball, so it will need a head coach who leans toward developing talent.
But if Thibodeau does get the job, he'll be the winningest coach the Knicks have had since Jeff Van Gundy.
Perhaps that, combined with a swift turnaround, will be enough to lure free agents in the summer of 2022.
DeMar DeRozan to Miami?
The Miami Heat has been one of the surprise teams of the 2019-20 NBA season.
They have the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 41-24, but they would like to add another All Star to play with Butler.
Their first choice, of course, would be reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, but if they can't land him, they have a few consolation players in their sights.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, DeMar DeRozan is a player they still like should he hit the free-agent market.
That comes with a caveat, though, because he wouldn't be able to command a max contract. He has a player option for $27.7 million next season, so it's up to him whether he opts in or not.
Although the four-time All Star is averaging 22.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists, things aren't exactly working out in San Antonio.
"The offense is not running as smoothly as one would think with a guy like him in the lineup," Jabari Young of CNBC Sports Business told ESPN San Antonio. "So you have to decide if you want to take that money and if you want to come back to a situation that's just not suitable. I mean, it didn't work.
"They're not winning, they don't look like they enjoy playing with each other, the roster just doesn't fit."
Simply put, DeRozan isn't happy in a Spurs uniform, so he's likely leaving, whether it be via trade or as an unrestricted free agent.
Pat Riley will have cap space, but the 30-year-old won't be his first choice when it comes to spending money.
Players like Victor Oladipo, Bradley Beal and Gordon Hayward are higher on his list. But if they fall through the cracks, there's a good chance DeRozan might find himself in Miami.