Five best options if the Knicks opt 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 six 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 is on a hot seat already. The Knicks have just an average record to start the 2022-23 season and the rumors have started about the Knicks head coach candidates in 2022-23.

Thibodeau is one of the best NBA head coaches right now and a two-time NBA Coach of the Year award winner, but the Knicks management doubts that he can bring the glory days back to New York.

Knicks head coach candidates in 2022-23

Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks contract is valid until 2025 and it will cost the franchise a lot if they decide to cut ties with the coach who has been in the league since 1989.

However, that will not stop us from listing the best head coaches available for the Knicks at the moment.

Mark Jackson

We are starting the list of the Knicks head coach candidates in 2022-23 with a man that every die-hard 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 the Rookie of the Year award. He is a person who has been a part of the Knicks’ successful period and he is exactly what the Knicks need at this point.

Jackson spent 17 years in the league as a player and is fifth on the NBA All-time assist leaders list. He was named the head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 2011 and many see him as the creator of the Warriors dynasty.

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

Jeff Van Gundy

If we are talking about the good old Knicks days, one name has to be mentioned. Jeff Van Gundy was the last coach who brought Playoff success in New York.

Van Gundy was an assistant with the Knicks from 1989 and made a name for himself when Pat Riley was the head coach. After Riley left New York, the Knicks named Don Nelson as the new head coach but very shortly, Van Gundy got that job.

He spent six seasons as a head coach for the Knicks from 1996 to 2001. Van Gundy was the coach who led the eight-seeded Knicks to the 1999 NBA Finals where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs. Later in his career, Van Gundy spent four years coaching the Houston Rockets from 2003 to 2007 and ever since has been mentioned as a potential head coach for the Knicks.

Van Gundy’s return to the Knicks will bring back the culture from the time the Knicks were a scary team in the league, and he definitely deserves another shot with the team.

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson was the Spurs point guard on the team that defeated the Knicks in the above-mentioned 1999 NBA Finals. In his 15 years in the league as a player, Johnson earned the nickname “Floor General” for his leadership skills.

It was just a matter of time before he would start his coaching career and he did that right after his retirement in 2004 with the Dallas Mavericks. He was Don Nelson‘s assistant for one year and then took over the team as a head coach.

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

Johnson and the Mavs parted ways in 2008 and he took over the New Jersey Nets, who then became the Brooklyn Nets. He didn’t see much success in Brooklyn and left in 2012. In 2015, Johnson took over the University of Alabama basketball team where he spent four seasons. He is a television commentator and has been waiting for the next coaching call.

Scott Brooks

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

Brooks was named the Oklahoma City Thunder head coach in 2008 shortly after the team moved from Seattle. Brooks is the coach who led the 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 very next season, Brooks took over the Washington Wizards where he stayed until 2021 and since then he has been an assistant with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Terry Stotts

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

Stotts has coached 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 for the Atlanta Hawks in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons and also coached the Milwaukee Bucks for two seasons in the period between 2005 and 2007.