When the “news” broke that Tom Thibodeau might flee the Chicago Bulls for greener pastures in New York, the first thing I did was laugh. When I heard the reasoning behind it was his much publicized feud with management in Chicago, I laughed even harder.
Thibodeau bolting from Chicago for New York because he doesn’t like management would be akin to me moving from Texas to the core of the sun because I don’t like the heat.
Yes, there may be management issues in Chicago and there may not be a perfect working relationship, but what’s going on in New York is outright comical.
Let’s put things in perspective here. James Dolan is the East Coast version of a dumber, less-accomplished Jim Buss. He’s never had to earn anything. His qualifications for being made head of Cablevision were having his father be the founder.
You don’t need to know his life story, just look at his Wiki entry.
After diddling away the first 20 years of his adult life wallowing in drugs and alcohol, his big business achievement with Cablevision was making sure that they didn’t get involved in the satellite game (and we all know what failures DirecTV and Dish Network have been).
He’s a meddling pseudo owner who constantly messes things up and blames everyone else for his failures. The mistakes he’s made as an owner run the gamut, from players to GMs to coaches.
There’s the ridiculous $100 million Allan Houston contract, the Stephon Marbury trade, the Eddy Curry trade. There’s the egregious, uninsured max deal given to Amar’e Stoudemire, whom everyone else in the world knew had bad knees. Add in the total commitment to never having the chance to draft first-round picks two years in a row, just for fun.
There’s Isiah Thomas. That’s its own paragraph.
There’s the virtual river of coaches: Jeff Van Gundy, Larry Brown, Herb Williams, Lenny Wilkins, Williams again, Larry Brown, Thomas, Mike D’Antoni and now Mike Woodson, who currently owns, but is in danger of losing, the job.
That’s nine coaching changes in 13 years.
Dolan is the kind of person who has never accomplished anything, makes impossible demands of other people to fix his bungles, and when they can’t, fires them. He’s worse than a petulant child; he’s a petulant adult. At least with children there’s hope they’ll mature.
That sounds like the kind of stable job environment I’d want to move into if I were disgruntled with management.
Especially when I look at the barrage of one-dimensional players surrounding Carmelo Anthony, who may be the most un-Thibean player Thibs would ever coach.
Anthony is not concerned about defense, or the little things that Thibodeau pays so much attention to. He is only concerned about himself. There’s no I in team, but there’s a “me” right in the heart of “Carmelo.” He’s the exact opposite of Thibodeau’s virtual son, Luol Deng.
Furthermore, the Knicks not only have no real team to speak of, they also have no assets, no young players, no cap space and no way to improve. Even if Carmelo Anthony opts out of his contract, the Knicks are still over the cap. And they don’t get all their wasted draft picks back either.
Even when they do get cap space, they won’t be able to get young players in the draft attractive enough to lure free agents.
In short, they are bad and assured of getting worse, with no hope of getting better for the next five years.
Meanwhile in Chicago, Thibs has had to deal with such atrocities as his favorite assistant getting fired and not always getting all the players he wants. Woodson would kill for problems like that.
The Bulls have had an incredibly discouraging season, but they have Nikola Mirotic—whom one scout has described as, “the best player not in the NBA right now”—presumably coming over next summer. They have not just one, but probably two first-round draft choices this summer, should Charlotte finish outside the bottom 10, as it looks like they will.
New York won’t be able to use two total first-round picks until 2017.
The Bulls have cap space coming up this summer, because they, unlike New York, didn’t stupidly burn their amnesty, and they can cut their dead weigh…er…Carlos Boozer. They have a young star player in Derrick Rose to attract free agents.
In short, there not be a perfect world for Thibodeau in Chicago, but it’s not the extra level of Dante’s hell that New York is. Thibs may very well decide to not finish his tenure with the Bulls, but I doubt it. I can say with total confidence though, if he ends his contract early to go somewhere else, it won’t be New York and that colossal mess.