Thibodeau has been assertive with Chicago Bulls management on his
coaching staff and roster, and he pushed hard to get veteran assistant
and management favorite Pete Myers off his bench and back into the front
office. Thibodeau has created clear boundaries between the front office
and coaching staff - something former Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro
probably wished he would've been allowed to do.
promised a grueling training camp, and he'll undoubtedly be an
emotional, demanding coach. It's no surprise he's pushed for as many of
his guys to fill out the roster, including Brian Scalabrine and
John Lucas III. Thibodeau has had significant say in every Bulls
personnel move, and the pressure will be on him to deliver this season.
The Bulls have given him wide latitude to operate within the
Thibodeau's ability to cultivate relationships with
his star players, especially his young cornerstones - Derrick
Rose and Joakim Noah - will be paramount for his success.
One thing to watch: Noah and the Bulls are still far apart on a contract
extension, sources said, and there are no assurances they'll have a
resolution before the start of the season.
It's interesting that the Bulls have put so much faith in Thibodeau and allowed him as much latitude as they have. While I'm sure Thibodeau had input on the process in free agency, the most controversial decision was not trying to bring in Anthony Morrow, but even that isn't too controversial given that Redick was on an offer sheet at the time. Thus I'm not going to credit him much one way or the other with how things worked out. The best part of the off-season was the creative financing the Bulls used with the non-guaranteed deals.
As for the end roster moves that Thibodeau really controlled, I'm not a huge fan of bringing in Scalabrine over say Bobby Simmons as I see Scalabrine having little on court value. However, Lucas has at least some potential as a three point shooter for the team. How these moves contribute in an intangible way will never be easily judged, but I'm certainly willing to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point.
The pressure is definitely on Thibodeau to deliver immediately. Assuming a relatively healthy season, I'd say anything less than 48 qualifies as a disappointment and most fans probably expect 50+ wins. When it comes to playoff time, a second round appearance is the minimum acceptable level now as well.
I'm glad Thibodeau was given the reins to run things in terms of his end of bench players and assistants. I expect him to win the team over in training camp. After VDN, grueling practices will feel like the necessary work to get ready for the season rather than a punishment.
As for the Noah extension, not only are there no assurances on one getting worked out, it's hard for me to see a contract extension in the Bulls best interest unless Noah's price comes to below 12 million a season. I'd expect an extension not to get done, the new CBA, Noah's injury history, and his lack of sustained proven success all combine to give the Bulls much less downide to waiting than upside.