I just returned from Chicago Bulls media day, the first chance to talk to the players and get enough quotes to last until preseason when there will be games to cover. Before I break down all of my interviews to give you specifics, here are a few quick first impressions about the team. Most of the returning Bulls have spent a tremendous amount of time working with Tom Thibodeau already, and the one thing that was commented on by several players is that Thibodeau is getting down and dirty and directly coaching the players rather than leaving it up to the assistants. He's working on every little aspect of the game with each of the guys individually. Noah, Gibson, and Johnson all spoke at length about it.
Everyone also talked about Thibodeau's attention to detail, and that there's no way they'll ever be unprepared for a game playing underneath him. While not a direct shot at Vinny, whom players were generally positive of, the implication certainly was that this wasn't always the case last season.
Thibodeau's sessions in the summer were described as very intense. He ran the same things over and over and over again. He told players he liked it when they got bored, because that meant they were getting good at it.
The themes I picked up on from those who worked with Thibodeau were
playing at a high pace on offense and playing strong defense.
The Jazz players are really tight. All three of them discussed playing with each other in Utah and how unique it was for them all to switch to the same new team and how that would help chemistry build faster. Korver and Brewer have been hanging out and showing each other the city.
Chicago, as a city, seemed to play a role in how attractive the Bulls were as a destination. It could be common bs, but all three of them sounded very sincere when discussing how nice it was to play in Chicago relative to Utah.
Mostly typical responses when it comes to the trade rumors. Players just need to wait and see, it's a business, it's good to be wanted, blah blah..
I only got to ask Noah one question, so I asked him about how the new CBA would affect his negotiations this season. He paused for awhile, and said well the new CBA could go either way. I responded that the vast majority of people expect it to go against the players and that there would be less money next year, and asked if he thinks that factors into his decision again.
He then paused for probably five seconds while seeming to really seriously contemplate the idea and then just said "yeah".
If Noah signs an extension and cites the new CBA, you'll know who planted the seed.