Ian Begley, who is not at all a Berman-style guy, so if he is reporting stuff like this, you know that there are some legit grumblings, reports:
Given the context, the Knicks just completed one of the worst five-day stretches in recent memory.
New York blew a 23-point lead in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. They lost at home on Monday to an Oklahoma City Thunder team that had lost 12 of 15 and was missing its top two players. Then on Wednesday, they blew an 18-point fourth quarter lead to a Nets team that didn’t have Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, or Ben Simmons.
It’s the kind of stretch that can lead to major changes in pro sports.
Which leads to the obvious question: is Tom Thibodeau’s job safe?
Only Knicks owner James Dolan, team president Leon Rose, and executive vice president William Wesley know the precise answer to that question.
What we know: Even before the brutal loss to the Nets, confidence in Thibodeau had diminished among some people of influence at Madison Square Garden.
Begley notes that Thibs’ benching of Walker was not well-received by his teammates, especially as others were looking at how the whole team was playing poorly and just Walker got singled out (Walker noted that Thibs also stopped talking to him after the benching which…weird) and that in general, the players didn’t feel like everyone is being held to the same standard (gotta be complaints about the Julius Randle double standard, right?).
Begley also quoted some more of Thibs’ increasingly indecipherable thoughts on the team, “You try to get some sort of rhythm and consistency and that’s what we’ve been lacking. Everything’s on the table now, it has to be. It’s got to be merit-based, it has to be. I’m not just going to give minutes to give minutes. You look at everything. What are you going to do, how are we going to manage this. It has to be merit-based. A guy is playing good, he plays. If the team is functioning well when he’s on the floor, he should play. That’s the most important thing. The team has to come first for everyone. This can’t be about what’s best for any one individual. It’s what’s best for the group. That’s the way it’s got to be. We have to do what we have to do. We got a chance to reset here. We all have to take a hard look at what’s going on and we got to figure out how we can do it better.”
I keep expecting Thibs to start muttering about the strawberries any day now.
The fascinating thing is that Begley went in much further detail in a tweet (which is weird, right?) noting that it is specifically Wes that is talking shit about Thibs to Dolan. On the one hand, I want Thibs gone as soon as possible, but on the other hand, I don’t know if I like knowing Wes has that much power with this team.
Another day, another LOLKnicks.