ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell writes:
Chicago Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and coach Tom Thibodeau have resumed negotiations about a contract extension for Thibodeau, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The Bulls picked up Thibodeau’s option for the 2012-13 season after last season. General manager Gar Forman repeatedly has stated that it is the organization’s intention to lock up Thibodeau for the long term, even though talks stalled earlier in the summer.
The story includes this old quote from ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy:
“If I was (the Bulls) and Tom agreed to what (Oklahoma City’s) Scott Brooks got (a reported four-year deal worth approximately $18 million), the whole thing would take 25 seconds. It’s a no-brainer … My thing is he’s an elite coach and should be paid like one.”
The key term in that quote is “no-brainer.”
I can think of absolutely no reason why:
a) the Bulls wouldn’t immediately and without regret pay Thibs what he deserves and
b) this hasn’t gotten done already.
Think about it. Despite a variety of injuries to key players (Carlos Boozer, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng…), the Bulls had the league’s best record in each of Thibodeau’s first two seasons. And Thibs reached the 100-win mark faster than any coach in NBA history.
Faster than Pat Riley.
Faster than Gregg Popovich.
Faster than Phil Jackson.
Faster than Red Auerbach.
Riley had Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the Showtime cast.
Popovich had David Robinson and Tim Duncan.
(Although, to be fair, the Spurs tanked Pop’s first season to win the Duncan sweepstakes.)
Jackson had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and the rest of the early 90s Bulls.
Auerbach had an All-Hall-of-Fame cast of Celtics led by Bill Russell.
Thibodeau had Rose and a cast of solid, hard-working, high-character players. The fact that Thibs has accomplished so much with a one-superstar limit is amazing. And based on many quotes (not to mention on-court performance), his players will walk through wall for him.
The Bulls need to spend the cash necessary to lock Thibodeau up long term. No question.
I wish they’d just do it and put this story to rest.