According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Tom Thibodeau has become the lead candidate for the coaching vacancy of the New Orleans Hornets. Wojnarowski wrote:
The Hornets are moving toward formulating an offer for Thibodeau and don’t want to risk losing him to another team with a coaching vacancy.
Meanwhile, Hornets GM Jeff Bower issued a statement of his own regarding the rumors circulating about the open coaching position.
“The New Orleans Hornets have not made a formal offer to any candidates involved in the process to hire a head coach,’’ Bower said in the statement. “We have had discussions with many impressive candidates.
“We will issue an official update when we have concluded the process and have reached an agreement.”
Because of the post-season success of Boston’s defense, Thibodeau has been linked to a other teams with coaching vacancies, most notably the New Jersey Nets and the Chicago Bulls.
Wojnarowski also wrote that, “even with the future of…Doc Rivers uncertain, sources say Thibodeau has been given no assurances he would be a strong candidate to replace him.”
Coach Doc Rivers has admittedly considered retirement, and Thibodeau’s courtship appears to be a good sign that Rivers will not retire upon season’s end. With Thibodeau’s track record of defensive excellence and time spent with the Celtics, it’s hard to imagine GM Danny Ainge wouldn’t jump at the chance to sign Thibodeau as Rivers’ replacement.
No matter what Thibodeau decides to do, however, he will continue to coach for the Celtics as long as their playoff run continues, according to Wojnarowski. Wojnarowksi tweeted early this morning (like 2:30 AM this morning, Woj doesn’t take a minute off from his reporting duties):
Whatever happens, Thibodeau will be on bench for Celtics until they’re eliminated. No scenario where he leaves team before the season’s over.