Former Chicago Bulls: Is Thibs being passed up by Kenny Atkinson for Knicks HC?

With the New York Knicks as one of the more high-profile coaching job openings right now, could former Chicago Bulls HC Tom Thibodeau be the right fit?

The former Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau had a lot of speculation of late as to whether he would become the next head coach of the New York Knicks this offseason. For a good while, Thibodeau appeared to be one of the front runners to land the Knicks job, but there is a decent head coaching market out there right now.

With the Knicks apparently closing in on a potential announcement for who their next head coach will be within the month, Thibodeau could be back in the NBA coaching ranks before too long. According to a report this week from Newsday, Knicks president Leon Rose plans for announce their new head coach possibly before the end of July.

That would be a pretty compressed timeline, but some candidates did seem to gain a lot of a steam in the interview process in the last couple of months. Among those were former Bulls head coach Thibs and current lead assistant Chris Fleming.

But one other name is emerging with some momentum of late in the Knicks coaching search without any ties to the Bulls. Former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has reportedly interviewed twice with the Knicks for their opening.

It’s hard to fault the Knicks for wanting to interview Atkinson. He’s one of the more recognizable names on the head coaching free agent market right now. The Nets let him go after a pretty good season during the 2018-19 campaign. It shouldn’t be all that long before Atkinson finds another head coaching job somewhere around the NBA.

What’s difficult to cope with as a Bulls fans is the fact that they are still keeping around current head coach Jim Boylen while the Knicks are actually conducting a full on coaching search. A head coaching option like Atkinson would be perfect for the Bulls given where they’re at with their young core and rebuild.

The Knicks are looking to replace former head coach David Fizdale, who was let go early on in the 2019-20 regular season. His firing also seemed a bit premature as it will be difficult for any head coach to succeed in New York given the current state of the Knicks. But maybe Atkinson or Thibs would be a good fit for where their franchise is at heading into the 2020-21 season.