Mark Stein first reported yesterday that Tom Thibodeau was quietly grousing about the fact the Bulls hadn't offered him an extension. Thibodeau publicly denied the story after the Bulls beat the Pistons last night. Thibodeau deserves a raise. I know it, you know it, he knows it, and the Bulls know it.
I can't believe this is an issue though. Let's look at the facts.
1: I can't think of a single coach in my life who was extended after one season while still having two full seasons left on his contract.
2: While I know it's happened, I can't remember the last time I saw a coach extended mid season. It's certainly very rare and likely more rare when the coach has full season remaining on his contract.
3: This season is compressed. There are fewer times to sit down and talk because they're constantly on the go.
Little upside to do an extension now
Tom Thibodeau's price isn't going up unless the Bulls win a title, and even then, it's not going up much. He already has to be viewed as one of the top coaches in the NBA, and I'd go as far to say the top coach. Thibodeau's already earned an extension in the 6-12 million per season range, especially when you factor in the Knicks and Lakers could jack up the bidding.
Only an unexpected first round or second round exit could lower his price tag, but I guarantee no one on the Bulls is expecting that with their lack of negotiating.
If the Bulls don't want to significantly overpay him by making an offer they know he'll leap at, then starting negotiations now becomes a big distraction at a bad time. Say they offer him something reasonable like six million a year. Leon Rose will come back and demand 10, and now despite the sides likely meeting somewhere reasonable eventually everyone has a bad taste in their mouth at the most critical point of the year.
If negotiations can't be brought to an end quickly [and they likely won't be given Leon Rose's involvement], then both sides likely agree to put off the extension until after the season is over but feel a bit more bitter for going through the effort now.
If Thibodeau gets an extension now it's not going to improve their situation any in terms of winning this year. It just leaves them where they persently are.
The thing is, both sides have to realize the sense of this. Everyone knows Thibodeau will get paid, and everyone knows it happens this summer. There's no rush to do something now, nor should there be.