Deng to avoid surgery? Thibs extension talks contentious?

Tom Thibodeau and Gar Forman each did interviews on ESPN 1000 today, and both of them said they expect Deng to avoid surgery after playing in the Olympics.

Bulls fans have long considered it a foregone conclusion that Luol would have surgery following the Olympics. Afterall, he's clearly torn ligament isn't going to reattach itself, however, the belief is now that he's strengthened the wrist enough that he may simply not need the ligament.

Now if Deng can play at full strength by strengthening his wrist in someway that's awesome. However, if he's going to be limited forever, then just do the surgery and get it over with. We don't need Deng to be a one handed dribbler for the rest of his career, particularly after the Bulls opted not to move him on draft day.

I certainly hope Luol is healthy enough to play the whole season, but I just want to make sure the long term approach is taken here rather than the short term approach. Chicago would certainly hold the course better without Rose to start the season if Deng isn't out as well.

In other news, contract talks with Tom Thibodeau have been testy. The Bulls are allegedly hoping to avoid a Skiles situation where they feel their coach might wear on their present players and then they need to let him go with several years on his deal and owing him 10 million or more.

Look, I get that fear, but Thibs legitimately one coach of the year two years ago, and if he hadn't won it then, he would have likely won it this year [but they simply don't give to the same guy two years in a row]. I don't see how you can not want to bring this guy back. The replacement is going to be worse, and the odds of him getting any respect in the locker room after the players dealing with Thibs are particularly small.

This is even more true, because Chicago likely wouldn't bring in a high powered, expensive guy if things didn't work out with Thibodeau. Thibs is on a contract for this season still, so there's no need to necessarily come to terms right away, however, it sends a bad message to players and teams have typically struggled with lame duck coaches who don't appear to have managements approval.

In the end, this is likely a money game. Thibodeau can make a case that he deserves 8+ million per season, and the Bulls are likely trying to argue him down to 4+ million a season. With the Knicks in the market for a coach next season [with a likely near unlimited budget], Chicago will either lose Thibodeau or pay a hefty pricetag if it gets to bidding war.

It's still early in the game though, I expect the Bulls and Thibs to get past all the posturing and settle on an extension prior to the season starting.


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  • Hey, didn't the Knicks sign mike Woodson to a multi year deal? Why would they need a new coach.

  • I know it's not his fault, but I'm still embittered by his poor risk evaluation manifested in playing players when he really shouldn't, i.e. blow outs and when they're clearly injured/noah in the playoffs.

    8+ million for him makes me honoree, still, he's a really good coach.

  • I guess what I'm trying to say is that thibs is worth top tier money, but I don't feel good about paying him long term, either.

  • He's a good coach but he does look like he can possibly burn out players and lose the team like skiles did, so i dont blame JR for taking his time. In my opinion his contract should mirror what scott brooks is about to get, they had similar success over the last few years. As much as I dislike the way he overplays his best two players etc. He took what probably should of been a 4th seed talent wise and made them the best team in the league with great team work for the last two years even with injuries to key players like Noah and Rose. However, he is getting outcoached during the playoffs, he needs to do a better job with adjustments and not be so stubborn.

  • The Bulls management and the owner has very poor judgement when it comes to player and coach evaluations. Now they don't want to pay Thibs for not only coaching the offensively Bulls to the top record in the league 2 years in a row, but for also almost winning coach of the year for both years. This ownership and management needs new direction cause they are clearly falling behind with how things are done in today's NBA. The Bulls have talent on the team but they're clearly not talented enough to win a championship any time soon. With Ray Allen possibly signing with the Heat, the Bulls may as well just play second fiddle in the east for the next 3 to 4 years cause that will be too much for them to over come as far as talent goes. Asik imo needs to be traded to bring in more offense to this team. Other big men that will be in free agency will be available for the Bulls to bring in. Bulls don't have a chance over the next few years with descent free agents every year chasing rings going to Miami. The Bulls management and some of the close minded Bulls fans better open their eyes to see the big picture, and that's the Miami Heat will own the east barring injuries for the next 3 to 4 years.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    excuse error meant to say the offensively challenged Bulls.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    If the Heat are going to own the east then why should the Bulls bother trading Asik and making costly moves? Why not let the heat have their run and see what happens in 5 years if the Heat are so great?

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Its about trying to beat the Heat, not letting them own the east for the next 5 years. Asik right now is the trading piece that other teams want. This is what I mean when I say some Bulls fans need to open their eyes. BULLS NEED A SHOOTING GUARD!!! Rip Hamilton is not the answer. Bulls still will stink on offense this coming season, something I have been saying for the longest.

  • I would pay him a big money, long-term contract, but with a declining guarantee each season (i.e. 100% the first year, 80% the second, 60% the third...).
    Thibs camp would be happy because he's getting paid and has long-term stability. Bulls still have a bunch of non-guaranteed money they can use to hold Thibs accountable, and if he does wear on the players or get strangled and fired for running them into the ground, the Bulls don't owe him $7 or $8 million per year for five years for not working.

  • Doug once again a great article!

    I hope Deng has consulted a doctor outside the Bulls organization.Ligamnets can be healed unless there was a complete tear of the majority of the ligaments then maybe for a absketball player the best option is surgery.I hope this isnt the case of all the injury mistreatment of Hamilton and of course Derrick Rose.Hopefully Luol Deng is smarter and gets opinions on his wrist.Intense physical therapy will be needed from Luol especially if he wants to maintain his left drive.

    Unfortunately opponents will look to hack him at that wrist.

    As for Thibodaeu we'll see if the Bulls give him a roster that can go for 50+ wins.It all depends on what they do the next 11 days.Of course the past has always been a guide for this organization.I can see the Bulls picking players that are cheap but can barely contribute on the W column.At the end of the season Thibs steps into Jerry's office with a 43-39 record and Jerry probably offers him a million for every 10 wins.

    World wide wes is representing thibs and ths could get ugly if it remains unresolved through the season.

    Unless of course Phil Jackson is waiting for another Bulls gig and all this is a plan to get Thibodaeu out.

    We shall see.

  • In reply to JOHN:

    Cant see Phil coming back to the Bulls without the team being a serious contender for the championship or having a legitimate go to scorer. Plus I really don't see Phil and Boozer being able to coexist with Boozers poor play on the defensive end of the floor.

  • Looks like Asik is gonna meet with the Rockets tonight. Things are about to get very interesting with free agency.

  • I wouldn't worry about Thibs contract yet. Most coaches are far apart at this stage. Brooks is supposed to be far apart with the Thunder and everyone expects it to get done eventually. I think the same will happen with Thibs.

  • It would be interesting to see how Derrick reacts if they don't get a deal done with Thibs. Have to think he wouldn't be too happy.

    I think the Scott Brooks situation is something to monitor if you're a Bulls fan. It'll be extremely difficult for Thibs to make the case he deserves more than Brooks without looking like a complete money whore (and there's nothing wrong with wanting money, especially after the Bulls screwed him on his first deal, but still).

    As you pointed out Doug, his one out is the Knicks. He better pray they have a bad year, and let Woodson go, though. Because I don't see any other team in the league giving him the kind of money they would. Even Rick Carlise just signed for about $5 mil which wasn't much of a raise at all for a guy that won a title.

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