Tom Thibodeau was placed further into the crosshairs during the NBA All-Star break, but the Knicks coach says he isn’t paying it much mind.
Last Thursday, a day after the Knicks last played a game, SNY reported that executive vice president William Wesley, in conversations with owner James Dolan, at least partially blamed Thibodeau for the team’s struggles. The Knicks currently are 12th in the Eastern Conference.
In his first comments since then, though, Thibodeau insisted he was not worried about it.
“I talk to Wes all the time,” Thibodeau said Wednesday. “I don’t respond to rumors or any of that stuff. I know the drill here. I’ve been here before, so I don’t worry about any of that stuff.”
When the Knicks hired Thibodeau, they preached that he and the front office — led by his former agent, team president Leon Rose — were in lockstep.
“I talk to Leon every day, talk to Wes every day,” said Thibodeau, who is in the second year of a five-year contract. “So that doesn’t change.”
Coming out of the All-Star break, Thibodeau will be tasked with trying to revive a Knicks team that has lost 13 of its last 16 games. He hinted at lineup changes before the break, but did not reveal any on Wednesday, aside from Kemba Walker being shut down for the season.
Mitchell Robinson practiced with the Knicks on Wednesday, two days after revealing that his father is missing in Florida.
“Just support him as much as we can,” Thibodeau said.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office in Pensacola, Fla., said in a Feb. 13 Facebook post that a man identified as 39-year-old Mitchell Robinson Jr. has been reported as missing since Feb. 11.
Nerlens Noel, who missed the final five games before the break with a foot injury, practiced fully on Wednesday, Thibodeau said.
RJ Barrett said the Knicks celebrated Obi Toppin after he won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night.
“First of all, those dunks were ridiculous,” Barrett said. “Some of those dunks, I’ve never seen before. So man, he can fly for real. Just happy that he was able to win that for himself and win something for the team.”