Jeff Van Gundy
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If the New York Knicks make an in-season coaching change, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, and Tom Thibodeau are all candidates to take over.

The New York Knicks secured their fifth win of the season on Wednesday night, but that doesn’t mean Mike Miller‘s completely safe. The interim head coach took over for the ousted David Fizdale and according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, it’s possible that the Knicks will bring on a permanent head coach in-season.

“The Knicks want interim head coach Mike Miller to finish the season in the position, but I’m told they have a short list of potential in-season candidates, including Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Tom Thibodeau, should the team’s faltering season necessitate another move,” Charania wrote. “Miller was informed upon taking the job that it is an interim position, and that the Knicks would keep an open mind for a possible permanent hire throughout the remainder of the season.”

All three potential hires of experience with the Knicks. Jeff Van Gundy coached the Knicks for seven seasons, amassing an impressive record of 282-172 that included a trip to the NBA Finals.

Mark Jackson had two stints with the Knickerbockers during his playing career, one of which coincided with Van Gundy’s time as head coach. The two are now ESPN analysts together.

Tom Thibodeau, on the other hand, was an assistant coach on Van Gundy’s staff with the Knicks. The hard-nosed coach had semi-successful runs as head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves, but it’s become clear that his in-your-face approach can wear on players and organizations.

This shortlist makes one thing clear about the next head coach of the Knicks: Expect him or her to have New York experience.

The problem with an in-season coaching change is that it would limit the candidates the Knicks could pursue. As Charania notes, there are plenty of high-level assistants who will become head coaching candidates at the end of the season. Hiring a full-time coach midseason would cut down on the list of qualified candidates.

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