On Tuesday, Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press reported that Minnesota Lynx assistant coach Walt Hopkins will be the New York Liberty’s next head coach.
AP source: Walt Hopkins to be next New York Liberty coach https://t.co/TxqdqTHoLA— Doug Feinberg (@DougFeinberg) January 6, 2020
What that also means is that Washington Mystics Associate Head Coach Eric Thibault won’t be heading to Brooklyn in a week to begin working on their free agency needs. He was a finalist for the job last December.
In the short term, this is good news for the Mystics. They will still keep one of their long-time assistants for an additional season. Maybe more.
However, this is the second consecutive season where Thibault has interviewed for head coaching jobs. After the 2018 season, he interviewed for the Dallas Wings position which ultimately went to Brian Agler. Since he is young, it’s inevitable that he will likely take a head coaching position sooner rather than later.
That puts the Mystics — and Monumental Basketball — in a bind on how to keep both Eric and his father Mike, the team’s current General Manager and Head Coach.
One of the simpler scenarios is that Eric could be officially named the “head coach-in-waiting” where Mike agrees to retire after one or two years as the head coach. After that time, Eric would become the head coach, while Mike remains the GM.
And I’ll also pop this question and tie the Wizards into this though I’m jumping ahead of myself.
What if the Wizards are still among the NBA’s worst performing teams early next season? Of course, we can expect Scott Brooks to be fired since he would be on the last year of his five-year contract. But who would be the interim head coach? This would be Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard’s first opportunity to fill a major role, even in an interim capacity.
I’m not sold from anyone on the Wizards’ bench. But I’ll certainly be encouraged if Sheppard can convince Mike ... yes Mike Thibault ... to be the Wizards’ interim head coach in such a scenario.
It could be a way to keep both Mike and Eric in house with the Monumental Basketball family.
What do you think is the best way to keep Eric Thibault while also keeping Mike happy on a professional level? Let us know in the comments below.