Celtics' Defensive Guru Tom Thibodeau Reportedly Frontrunner For Hornets' Job

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Hornets Unwilling To Wait On Thibodeau, May Turn To Monty Williams

While the New Orleans Hornets offered their vacant coaching job to Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau last week, the team does not want to wait until after the NBA Finals to hire a new coach. This from ESPN’s Marc Stein:

The Hornets don’t want to let their coaching search drag beyond this week and plan to offer the job instead to Portland Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams if Thibodeau, Boston’s defensive specialist, doesn’t accept by Thursday, according to sources.

The delay, according to sources, stems not only from Boston’s ongoing postseason obligations but from Thibodeau’s desire to see how serious the New Jersey Nets and Chicago Bulls are about hiring him. It remains unclear when or if the Bulls still plan to interview Thibodeau, but one source said Thibodeau did speak with the Nets before the Celtics left Tuesday for Los Angeles.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, the Newark Star Ledger is reporting that the Nets may not hesitate in pursuing Thibodeau now that Jeff Van Gundy has turned them down:

It is likely that Tom Thibodeau has vaulted to the top of the Nets’ list of candidates — and that they’re going to have some competition for his services if that is the case.

It was reported last week that the Boston Celtics assistant coach is about to get an offer from the New Orleans Hornets, which Thorn would not address specifically. But when asked whether such a circumstance — a coach he liked, being pursued by others — would force him to be proactive, Thorn said yes.


Celtics' Defensive Guru Tom Thibodeau Reportedly Frontrunner For Hornets' Head Coach Opening

Tom Thibodeau, the Boston Celtics assistant coach and defensive genius for the past three seasons, is reportedly the number one choice for the Hornets' head coaching vacancy.

Citing "sources," Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that New Orleans is putting together an offer and could present it to Thibodeau "in the near future."

Sources say it's been an excruciating process because general manager Jeff Bower and president Hugh Weber have also been impressed with their other finalist, Portland Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams. Sources say Hornets point guard Chris Paul(notes) has also been an advocate for the Portland assistant coach.

Nevertheless, the Celtics' success in the postseason has again crystallized Thibodeau's strength as a defensive coach.

The report says that the Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Nets GM Rod Thorn have also shown interest in the man credited for much of the Celtics' recent success.

This is hardly the first time that Thibodeau's name has been mentioned for head coaching positions. He has interviewed before with the Sixers, Pistons and Kings, and during the 2008 Playoffs, he was rumored to be a candidate for both the Knicks and Bulls jobs.

It is unknown if Thibodeau would even take the job now if the Hornets offered it to him, though. He may still want to wait until after the postseason for his opportunity to talk with Chicago.

Thibodeau has been an assistant in the NBA since 1989, coaching for the Timberwolves, Sonics (as an advance scout), Spurs, Sixers, Knicks and Rockets before joining Boston prior to the 2007-08 season.

For more reaction visit CelticsBlog.

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