June 23, 2010
It’s official. Like, officially official.
Welcome to the Windy City, Tom. Believe me, we’re pleased as punch to have you here. A real, certified, honest-to-goodness, championship-experienced coach.
That’s not a dig on former coach Vinny Del Negro, by the way.
Said Thibodeau: “It’s been a long wait for me and to be in this city with this team is a dream come true. I certainly understand the great tradition and history of the team.”
And: “The big thing was the great young nucleus. Then there was the careful planning and management of the cap. I think when you combine those things, you saw those possibilities. And obviously, there’s the city. The tradition here with the Bulls and Chicago is a great sports town. I saw this team as having all the things I was looking for — strong ownership, strong front office and the nucleus. Those are the things that attracted me.”
Thibs also had things to say about Derrick Rose (“A big part of Derrick’s growth has to be on the defensive end.”), Luol Deng (“He’s one of the most underrated players in the league. He does so much without the ball. He’s in constant motion.”), Kirk Hinrich (“I’ve always admired his game because of his versatility. He has great competitive spirit.”) and Joakim Noah (“He plays to win. I’d like to continue to see him get stronger.”)
As for his plans for the Bulls, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes; “Thibodeau wowed Forman and executive vice president John Paxson during an interview in Los Angeles on the eve of Game 1 of the Finals with creative offensive ideas centered on drive-and-kick and pick-and-roll schemes, as well as thoughts on player development.”
Not super excited about drive-and-kick schemes, since those made up about 87 percent of Chicago’s offense the last two seasons. And that is a dig on Vinny. But hey, based on his work with the Celtics, Thibodeau has earned the benefit of my doubt.
June 7, 2010
As relief washes over Bulls fans — the team finally has a coach, and a good one at that — it’s probably worth briefly discussing the “connection” between Tom Thibodeau and LeBron James.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes: “World Wide Wes has been telling everyone that he believes LeBron James is leaning hard toward signing with the Chicago Bulls. … Just know this: It wasn’t until Tom Thibodeau – who swore he never again wanted an agent — signed with William Wesley’s CAA that the Chicago Bulls grew serious about the coach’s candidacy. … Something pushed Bulls officials to get on a plane, fly to Los Angeles on the eve of the NBA Finals and meet with the Boston Celtics assistant coach. Within 48 hours, the Bulls had a deal for Thibodeau to become their head coach. For several weeks, the Bulls had chances to interview him. They never did. … Only now, Tom Thibodeau has a three-year contract to coach the Chicago Bulls.”
Conspiracy theories? You ain’t heard nothin’ yet.
In his live blog of Game 2 of the NBA Finals, ESPN’s Bill Simmons wrote: “1. LeBron repped by Leon Rose (CAA), Bosh repped by Henry Thomas (CAA). LeBron’s mentor? Uncle Wes (aka, William Wesley). 2: This spring, Uncle Wes becomes a CAA agent for college/pro coaches. Quietly signed Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau a few weeks ago. Thibodeau = longtime mentor of Sec. of Education Arne Duncan (big Bulls fan, once Chi. supe of schools). Duncan = buddies with boss Barack Obama (also a big Bulls fan, on record as hoping LBJ goes there), they play pickup hoops together all the time. Jerry Reinsdorf = Bulls owner and unabashed Obama suckup. Thibodeau signs with Wes. Never mentioned for vacant Bulls job until a few days ago. Gets it within 72 hours.”
So, essentially, Simmons believes that his country’s president and secretary of education are exerting influence to get LeBron James to Chicago…and the hiring of Thibodeau was part of that.
Seriously: Could LeBronmania get any crazier?
The Cleveland Cavaliers are cleaning house — firing coach Mike Brown and “accepting the resignation” of GM Danny Ferry — so LeBron will stay. There are talks of Free Agent Summits, of Pat Riley trying to convince LeBron and Chris Bosh to play in Miami for less money and possibly sweetening the deal by returning to coaching. And now, if you believe the scuttlebutt, the President of the freaking United States is getting involved. And I’m not talking about his ”LeBron would be a good fit with the Bulls” comment, I mean directly involved.
It’s like every rumor that gets reported is bigger than the last. What’s next? Will archeologists discover a new Dead Sea Scroll that tells us where God himself wants LeBron to play?
But for all these rumors and theories, nobody is any closer to knowing where LeBron James will be in 2010-11.
June 6, 2010
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: “Though no official announcement will come until after [Tom] Thibodeau serves as associate head coach for the Celtics in the NBA Finals, multiple sources confirmed the longtime assistant accepted a three-year deal worth roughly $6.5 million.”
Honestly? I am stoked.
I think this is a fantastic choice and a great hire for the Bulls. Thibodeau may not have NBA head coaching experience per se, but he’s got about as much pedigree as any non-head man could possibly have. Check out his profile on NBA.com. Tibbs has 18 years of NBA coaching experience with various organizations, has helped his team finish in the NBA’s Top 10 in team defense 14 times, has coached over 100 NBA playoff games (including this season), and made a trip to the 1999 NBA Finals as an assistant coach with the New York Knicks.
As far as rookie head coaches go, he’s sort of — no offense — the anti-Vinny Del Negro.
By all accounts, Thibodeau is a workaholic and basketball junkie who is well-liked and highly respected by his peers and (more importantly) his players. Basically, there’s nothing not to like about this move. Well, unless you’re a member of the Boston Celtics, that is.
But for the Bulls, this is a great first step in one of the biggest summers in franchise history. Now the front office can focus all of their energy on bringing in the right free agents.
June 4, 2010
Remember how it was rumored that the Bulls met with Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau the night before Boston played in Game 1 of the NBA Finals? And how the Celtics denied it?
Well, it happened.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports: “Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers insisted he was ‘fine’ with his top assistant Tom Thibodeau meeting with Chicago Bulls officials less than 24 hours before Game 1 of the NBA Finals. ‘I’m fine with it,’ Rivers told Yahoo! Sports upon arrival at Staples Center Thursday night. ‘Tom does his job. He always does his job. If it was somebody that could be distracted, then I wouldn’t have let it happen. But this was all cleared.’”
But wait, there’s more: “Ainge said he doesn’t know where the negotiations stand between Thibodeau and the Hornets or Bulls, but doesn’t think he will return to Boston next season. ‘I think he’s gone,’ Ainge said. ‘I’m guessing he will be somewhere next year because I think he will get his chance.’”
And who knows? The Bulls might give him that chance.
According to ESPNChicago: “The Chicago Bulls came away from their interview of Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau impressed by his basketball knowledge and consider him a top-three candidate, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation. Thibodeau interviewed well — with Bulls GM Gar Forman and VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson — according to one of the sources. That source also said it’s premature to call him the top candidate because the team also is talking to other coaches.”
It’s always premature to pick somebody before they actually get the job, but I don’t know of a better head coaching candidate who’s been linked to the Bulls so far.
June 3, 2010
It has been rumored that the Bulls’ coaching search includes Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau. If so, there are good reasons for it, not the least of which is that Thibodeau is by all accounts the mastermind of Boston’s “iron curtain” defense. And the Bulls aren’t the only team interested in him.
In fact, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that the New Orleans Hornets already offered Thibodeau their head coaching position. It was rumored that the Hornets wanted an answer by today. It seems they got one. According to the New York Post, Thibodeau turned them down.
So apparently Thibodeau is still in play. Are the Bulls going to make a push for him? Based on some reports, they supposedly already have.
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: “On the eve of the NBA Finals, league sources said Bulls management flew to Los Angeles to interview Celtics associate head coach Tom Thibodeau for their head coaching vacancy late Wednesday. The meeting hadn’t taken place as of nearly 10 p.m. Chicago time Wednesday, but sources said both general manager Gar Forman and senior vice president John Paxson were in Los Angeles.”
That news was, ahem, news to Celtics officials.
According to Jim O’Donnell of the Chicago Sun-Times: “Boston Celtics executives rushed to deny a Chicago Tribune report late Wednesday night that Bulls basketball chiefs John Paxson and Gar Forman were in Los Angeles to formally interview Celtics associate head coach Tom Thibodeau for the Bulls’ head-coaching job. … With the Celtics scheduled to play Game 1 of the NBA Finals tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center, Paxson and Forman would be guilty of an enormous breach of NBA protocol and ethics if they attempted to interview Thibodeau without Ainge’s explicit consent while the Boston postseason continues.”
In an e-mail to the Sun-Times, Celtics executive director for basketball operations Danny Ainge said: ”I don’t know a thing about it.”
Celtics veteran vice president of media relations Jeff Twiss added: ”Unless I’m missing something here, everything on the court involving the Boston Celtics — personnel, coaches, support staff — is under Danny’s watch. Everything goes through him. That’s just the way it is in our organization. If Danny doesn’t know anything about it, quite simply, we’re denying it. I am very surprised. Times have changed, but there still are normal policies and procedures.”
Denying it doesn’t make it not true. However, if the Bulls really did fly out to have a chat with Thibodeau, why the sudden rush? And why would they apparently breach protocol to do so?
According to Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald: “The Bulls originally declined an opportunity to meet with Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau during the six-day break before the Finals, thinking they didn’t want to be pressured into a quick decision. But with Thibodeau feeling the heat to accept an offer from New Orleans by Thursday, there were suggestions Bulls management had a change of heart and flew to Los Angeles to meet with Thibodeau on Wednesday night.”
Could Thibodeau’s possibly talk with Bulls management have had anything to do with him turning down the Hornets job? Chances are, we’ll never know. Whatever the case, I’m glad he’s still available. He’s currently on the top of my list of Bulls head coach candidates…on the opposite end of Kevin McHale.
May 26, 2010
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the New Orleans Hornets have made a formal offer to Boston Celtics assistant and defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau.
And what does that mean for the Bulls?
Stein writes: “Sources say the Bulls, meanwhile, have scheduled an interview this week with [Lawrence] Frank while waiting to see whether Thibodeau takes the New Orleans job or consents to meet with them after Boston’s series with Orlando. Other Bulls candidates besides Frank and Thibodeau, according to the Chicago Tribune, are Houston Rockets assistant coach Elston Turner and Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks.”
Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald adds: “Dallas assistant Dwane Casey will reportedly get a second interview for Atlanta’s opening. Casey is on the Bulls’ list, but trails Tom Thibodeau and Maurice Cheeks at this point. – The Bulls are not expected to have interest in ex-Cleveland coach Mike Brown. LeBron James won’t want to play in the same slow-down offense. New Jersey might add Brown to its list of candidates.”
Despite the fact that his team still hasn’t closed in on a new coach, Joakim Noah is feeling pretty positive. During a recent appearance on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000, Noah compared Chicago to New York: “I think the difference is we’re going to win a lot more ballgames over there. The future is really bright in Chicago. It’s really exciting to be a part of it, and things are looking pretty good.”
May 24, 2010
In case you haven’t noticed what the Boston Celtics have been up to lately, they’re on a six-game playoff winning streak against the two best regular season teams in the league. During that six-game stretch, the Celtics have held the Cavaliers and Magic to 87, 88, 85, 88, 92 and 71 points.
Mind you, coming into their series against the Celtics, the Magic were 8-0 in the playoffs and averaging 101.0 PPG while shooting almost 50 percent from the field and nearly 40 from downtown. Against the Boston Stranglers, they’re scoring 83.7 PPG while hitting only 39 percent of their field goals and 28 percent of their threes. As Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom pointed out: “Their offensive rating is down to 95 points per 100 possessions. For reference, the 12-70 Nets were last in the NBA with 100.6 points per 100 possessions.” And remember: During the regular season, the Magic were ranked 4th in Offensive Rating.
It’s no wonder the Bulls are targeting Boston assistant coach and defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau.
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: “League sources confirmed the Bulls have requested permission to interview Thibodeau – who is not permitted to talk to media, a team rule for assistant coaches – for their head coaching vacancy. That interview could take place during the Celtics’ break between the Eastern Conference finals and NBA Finals should they finish off their 3-0 lead over the Magic. … In 18 NBA seasons with the Timberwolves, SuperSonics, Spurs, 76ers, Knicks, Rockets and Celtics, Thibodeau’s teams have finished in the top 10 defensively 15 times.”
In related news, Phoenix Suns assistant “Thunder” Dan Majerle is willing to listen if the Bulls call him about their coaching vacancy. As of now, they haven’t called.