Five top picks if the Knicks decide to fire Tom Thibodeau in 2022-23

May 27, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; ESPN broadcasters Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen before Game 6 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden. Mandatory credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Thibodeau signed a five-year deal with the New York Knicks in 2020, but he’s already on the hot seat. The Knicks have just an average record to start the 2022-23 season, and rumors of 2022-23 Knicks head coaching candidates have begun.

Thibodeau is currently one of the NBA’s top coaches and a two-time NBA Coach of the Year, but the Knicks management doubts he can bring back the glory days to New York.

2022-23 Knicks head coaching candidates

Tom Thibodeau is under contract with the Knicks until 2025, and it would cost the franchise dearly if they decide to cut ties with the coach who has been in the league since 1989.

However, that won’t stop us from listing the best head coaches available to the Knicks right now.

Mark Jackson

We start the list 2022-23 Knicks head coaching candidates that every New York fan would love to see on the Knicks bench. Mark Jackson is a former Knick who was drafted by the team with the 18th pick in the 1987 NBA Draft and won Rookie of the Year honors. He is someone who has been a part of the Knicks’ successful era, and he is exactly what the Knicks need right now.

Jackson spent 17 years in the league as a player and is fifth on the NBA’s all-time assists list. He was named head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 2011 and is seen by many as the founder of the Warriors dynasty.

But the team fired him in 2014, and he has been a television analyst ever since. Jackson had a 121-109 record in three seasons with the Warriors. He is a respected figure in the Knicks organization and it is time to see him back in the league as the new head coach of the Knicks.

Jeff Van Gundy

If we’re talking about the old Knicks days, one name has to be mentioned. Jeff Van Gundy was the last coach to achieve playoff success in New York.

Van Gundy had been an assistant with the Knicks since 1989 and made a name for himself when Pat Riley became head coach. After Riley left New York, the Knicks hired Don Nelson as their new head coach, but Van Gundy took the job not long after.

He spent six seasons as the head coach of the Knicks from 1996 to 2001. Van Gundy coached the No. 8 Knicks to the 1999 NBA Finals, where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs. Later in his career, Van Gundy spent four years with the Houston Rockets from 2003-2007 and has since been mentioned as a potential head coach for the Knicks.

Van Gundy returning to the Knicks would bring back the culture from when the Knicks were a feared team in the league, and he definitely deserves another shot with the team.

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson was the point guard for the Spurs that beat the Knicks in the aforementioned 1999 NBA Finals. During his 15 years in the league as a player, Johnson earned the nickname “The Floor General” for his leadership skills.

It was only a matter of time before he began his coaching career, which he did after retiring in 2004 with the Dallas Mavericks. He was an assistant to Don Nelson for a year, and then took over as head coach.

Johnson led the Mavericks to the NBA Finals in his rookie year as head coach, which speaks volumes. He became the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 100 wins, a record that was later broken by Thibodeau.

Johnson and the Mavs parted ways in 2008, and he took over the New Jersey Nets, which later became the Brooklyn Nets. He didn’t see much success in Brooklyn and left in 2012. In 2015, Johnson coached the University of Alabama basketball team, where he spent four seasons. He is a television commentator and awaits his next coaching challenge.

Scott Brooks

Scott Brooks is another former NBA point guard on this list. In his 13 NBA seasons, he spent the 1996-97 season with the Knicks and was coached by Jeff Van Gundy. Shortly after his retirement, Brooks began his coaching career and spent five seasons as an assistant in Denver, Sacramento and Seattle.

Brooks was named head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008 shortly after the team moved from Seattle. Brooks is the coach who led a young Thunder team to the 2012 NBA Finals where they lost to the Miami Heat.

In 2015, he was fired by the Thunder after the team missed the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. The following season, Brooks took over the Washington Wizards, where he stayed until 2021, and has since been an assistant with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Terry Stotts

Terry Stotts has been out of the league since 2021 after nine seasons as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers. He led the Blazers to the 2019 Western Conference Finals, the Blazers’ deepest playoff run in 20 years.

Stotts led more than 1,000 games in the NBA with a .515 winning percentage. He has been in the league since 1992 and was the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons and also coached the Milwaukee Bucks for two seasons from 2005-2007.