Report: Nets eye Thibodeau

Celtics associated head coach Tom Thibodeau is being eyed as the next coach of the New Jersey Nets, according to a report Tuesday in the New York Daily News:

Saying he is still in the "very preliminary" stages of finding the next head coach of the Nets, team president Rod Thorn acknowledged Monday he has a list of candidates that includes college and unemployed NBA coaches.

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The Nets reportedly have their eyes on Celtics associate head coach Tom Thibodeau.He also said he would like to have a coach in place by the draft on June 24, when the Nets will begin rebuilding a team that went 12-70 this past season.

"You'd like to have some input from your coach," Thorn said on a conference call with reporters. "And what kind of coach you end up hiring may affect the way you draft."

Thorn hinted the Nets will likely reach out to former Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau, who is currently associate head coach to Doc Rivers in Boston.

One of the most respected assistants in the league, Thibodeau's name comes up regularly whenever a head coaching job is available, and sources say that he would be interested in the job. Without naming him, Thorn revealed several reasons why Thibodeau could be a perfect fit in New Jersey, including the fact the Nets are looking for "somebody who has a defensive presence."

Thibodeau is considered one of the top defensive minds in the game. During his years as Jeff Van Gundy's assistant with the Knicks and the Rockets, both teams were among the stingiest in the league. The Celtics have also been a top defensive team during Thibodeau's three seasons in Boston.

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Thibodeau reportedly drew interest from both the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls for their head coach vacancies in recent years.