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Tom Thibodeau reacts to rampant rumors about teams’ interest

There is no doubt Tom Thibodeau is an in-demand coaching candidate given he’s believed to have garnered interest from a handful of NBA teams. That does not mean Thibodaeau feels the need to jump at the first, second or even third opportunity, and for good reason.

The New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets are all believed to be interested in getting involved in the Thibodeau sweepstakes. The permanent head-coaching jobs for the Knicks and Nets are currently open, and it’s unclear what the future holds for Mike D’Antoni in Houston.

Amid all the speculation, Thibodeau appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” on Wednesday, and he insisted he’s in no rush to return to an NBA bench.

“They’re just rumors. That’s what it is,” Thibodeau said. “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.”

As Thibodeau notes, he has millions of reasons why he can remain patient while contemplating any potential job offers that come his way. Thibodeau was in the midst of a five-year, $40 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves when the team relieved him of his positions as head coach and president of basketball operations in January 2019.

That means Minnesota is on the hook to pay Thibodeau through the 2020-21 season, so he will continue collecting paychecks while waiting for the perfect opportunity to come along.

As far as the current interest in Thibodeau, all three options have their compelling qualities, and it’s believed that Nets superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have an interest in working with Thibodeau.

For the time being, however, Thibodeau appears content with playing the long game, although that doesn’t mean the longtime NBA coach won’t ultimately make his move sooner rather than later.