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Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau did not rule out the possibility of losing two assistant coaches to the college ranks amid reports of interest.
The Knicks hired Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne and NBA veteran coach Mike Woodson to join Thibodeau’s staff, even though he did not know either. Reports have surfaced Payne is being pursued by DePaul and Woodson by Indiana, his alma mater.
Sources told The Post Knicks senior vice president William Wesley had pushed for the hiring of both coaches.
“Anytime someone has an opportunity to advance, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,’’ Thibodeau said. “We also have a great [staff], Andy Greer and Darren Erman, and we have a great player development staff where we have some really bright young guys that are coming along. So I’m very pleased with our staff, we have a great teaching staff. We have a number of guys that could step up.
“I think all my staff is terrific and they’ll be recognized. And they’re all deserving of opportunities. So anytime someone has an opportunity to advance we’ll certainly allow them to interview.’’
Greer has been with Thibodeau at multiple spots along the way, including on Jeff Van Gundy’s staff with the Knicks. Greer was also on Thibodeau’s staffs in Chicago and Minnesota. If the Knicks lose either, they can promote, Greer’s brother, Larry to the bench. Larry Greer is an advance scout and former Timberwolves assistant.
DePaul reportedly is zeroing in on Payne, whom the Knicks lavished with a yearly salary of $1.5 million, which is among tops for the position.
Payne worked closely at Kentucky with DePaul’s new athletic director DeWayne Peevy and is expected to interview for the position. The Knicks assistant has been credited for helping Julius Randle’s renaissance season and pushing for the drafting of Immanuel Quickley of Kentucky with the 25th pick.
PG Derrick Rose missed his ninth straight game as he still isn’t in condition after having severe symptoms of COVID-19.
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