Thibodeau gets four year extension and other media day goodness

It felt like a black cloud was hanging over media day on the way there. A series of questions on uncompleted extensions, underwhelming off-season moves, and Derrick Rose's ACL. The Bulls pulled a circus trick to turn a potential negative day into a veritable fun fair breaking the news of a four year extension for Tom Thibodeau.

The extension kicks in after this season, so Thibodeau will be paid through the end of the 2016/17 season. The extension has been reported to be worth 17.5 million with the possibility to grow to 20 million with incentives. The incentives apparently bridged the gap between the two sides.

This is great news for the Bulls players, management, Thibodeau, and the fans. It's a veritable win/win/win/win situation. The players won't have to deal with a lame duck coach, management locks in one of the elite coaches in the league, Thibodeau gets some serious coin, and there's no salary cap consequences to deal with like when a player gets a deal.

In all, it was a great way to kick off media day.

I asked one question to Gar Forman about the Bulls signing of Kirk Hinrich rather than using a sign and trade. Gar gave the expected answer that it takes three sides to want to do the deal.

I suspect it may be the case the Bulls felt they had Hinrich locked up at the MMLE when they traded Korver and wanted to keep the exception, but after the fact Hinrich got a much better offer from Milwuakee [as reported by Sam Smith] leaving the Bulls having to scramble to get more cash for him.

The rest of the players I talked with were high on the Thibodeau extension, confident they could play well without Rose and seemed excited to get the season started. Marcus Teague struck me as a quality guy. He was down to Earth, ready to accept his role, and seemed to understand how much work was in front of him.

Marco Belinelli noted that while he's known as a shooter, he feels he can be more than a shooter for this team. He was a bit bigger than I expected in person, and also was excited to come to a better team, a team that could compete for the title.

Jimmy Butler talked about improving his shooting this off-season. He said one of the biggest things was building his confidence, and he expects to shoot better this season. That said, he says his aim is to continue to take the ball to the hoop aggressively and quickly to find himself at the line for easy opportunities.

Nate Robinson looks prepared to liven up the locker room, I didn't get a chance to interview him, but he was clowning around at media day, stealing Jimmy Butler's placard and posing for pictures with a Jimmy Butler #21 sign [if we see some website with a picture of Nate Robinson posing as Jimmy Butler, you'll know why].

Kirk Hinrich seemed excited to be back with the Bulls and was as cheerful as I've seen him at media day. For that matter, the rest of the team seemed excited to have him back. Derrick Rose said Kirk Hinrich was the first player he ever recruited to come play for the Bulls. Baby steps on the recruiting thing.

While it seems kind of silly to think of Kirk Hinrich as the caliber of player Derrick would recruit, it says a lot about what kind of impact Kirk had on Derrick in such a short period of time. I know Hinrich played mentor to Rose, and Derrick talked about Kirk as one of those guys who you know is going to do whatever it takes to win.

For one day, it was great to get some real Bulls news back, and especially the big news, that an extension was done. Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago also reported that there's been positive movement on a Gibson extension which is promising news. The best part of all, the NBA is back, not all the way, not to the point of playing games, but the dead news cycle is gone, we're ready to go.

Filed under: News

Tags: chicago bulls, media day, nba


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  • Recruiting Kirk Hinrich, Derrick Rose is comedy gold.

    Good news on the Thibs extension though. Unless the Bulls stink this year you'd think the past 2 years would be enough for someone to want to pay him more than 5 million per, so great deal.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    With the Lakers, Nets, and Knicks all potentially looking at new coaches in the future, I think Thibs would have banked mad cash if he waited.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I think Thibodeau made a mistake in accepting this deal. One of those three teams would have doubled the Bull's offer if he waited a year. If the Bulls flop, he already has a built in excuse of a Rose-less team, thus maintaining Thibodeau's value.

  • In reply to RichG:

    I don't think they would have doubled it. The Lakers were balking at paying Jackson 10 million a year, I doubt they were going to go 10 million on Thibodeau. The Knicks weren't like to go that high either after the Larry Brown fiasco and paying D'Antoni way too much money as well.

    I do think he could have gotten around six million a year, but then you wonder if he also values the situation here. The Bulls will probably be the best team of that group over the next five seasons. The Lakers are going to go down hill fairly quickly, the Knicks and Nets are worse than a healthy Bulls team now with no prospects to get better.

    Granted, the Lakers have found ways to turn over the team repeatedly, so I wouldn't bet against them finding away to quickly rebuild around Howard.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I agree with you about the Lakers and Knicks. The team I think would have been the greatest threat to pay $8 to $10 millon/year for Thibodeau would have been the Nets. While they are improved, I don’t think they’re going to live up to the hype. They didn’t get Dwight Howard, and Joe Johnson is overrated. With expectations so high going into their new building, Avery Johnson will be on a short leash. In addition, of all the deep pocketed owners in the NBA, Mikhail Prokhorov’s are the deepest, and Thibedeau may have preferred working for an owner where luxury tax is not an issue. However, it’s a moot point now.

  • I agree with DRose, Belinelli and Jimmy Butler are going to be the two sleepers. These guys can handle the ball, attack the rim and playmake. Nate Robinson is way better than lucas the third. The only significant downgrade is losing Asik, thats why I hope this Fesenko signing is for the rest of the year if he plays well during preseason. I also think people are downplaying how well Gibson will play when given more minutes, he was the Bulls best defender last year.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Fesenko's been pretty bad in the NBA, so even if he signs I wouldn't count on him doing anything this year.

    I have to say Mohammed looked to be very fit when I saw him. It was interesting comparing him to Kurt Thomas who looked visibly out of shape, but then again Kurt Thomas was pretty awesome despite that while plenty of guys who look in shape fail miserably.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I like Nazr M. great guy, lets hope he has something left in the tank for 10 minutes a game.

  • I think your pseudonym says it all. When with Joakim Noah on the same Bulls team, did Taj Gibson become the Bulls best defender? You guys are so fake, You kill Taj Gibson everytime you get a chance last year, then he suddenly becomes the Bulls best defender last year. This blog is a joke!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    My previous response was directed to Defense-Rebound13.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    mr slamdunk, you are a very strange creature but let me indulge this once. Noah has been inconsistent on the defensive end during the last two years under thibs. Taj Gibson is the best shot blocker and defender the Bulls have. Deng the best perimeter defender. I'm not saying Noah sucks on defense but he sometimes gets out of position and gives up easy layups. Have you been watching the Bulls games the last two years?

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Yes idiot!

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    In Noah's defense, for the most part Gibson got to play with Asik, and Noah had to carry a 265 lb sack of shit around on his back while simultaneously trying to guard 3 guys. Noah looks bad at times because he doesn't have Taj(or Asik) to "help the helper"

    Taj may be a fundamentally better man defender, but Noah is as good as anyone in the league as a team defender, in fact he is kind of Scottie Pippen like, just not as athletic at his size. Pippen wasn't always the best one on one defender, but he was a one man full court press.

    My guess is that given Noah's size advantage most coaches in the league would take Noah over Taj without having to give it too much thought.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    What's with you and Joakim Noah? Why do you take every comment and turn it into a slight against Joakim Noah and why are you so defensive about him.

    Noah's probably my favorite Bull, and I was riding the "get Noah" bandwagon when he was at Florida after the first championship year when I was upset he didn't come out for the draft because I wanted the Bulls to take him at #2 (instead of Tyrus).

    That said, Noah's not in some super elite stratosphere of ability that we can't discuss his strengths and weaknesses.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I have to be on the alert for Noah because I've been following a lot of sports over the years, and the two Bulls blogs in Chicago are an embarrassment.
    I can't stand idly by while some trolls like Defense-Rebound13 who have agendas, take their digs at Noah disguised as sound and honest questioning.

    I'll give you an example, although you have a brain and eyes and can spot a fraudulent question or point being made.
    I'm sure you remember Noah helping out on the lazy Carlos Boozer's man while having to cover his own, and being unable to cover both.

    A fool and fraud like Defense-Rebound13 knows this and still blames Noah for "sometimes gets out of position and gives up easy layups."
    After that stupid question he has the nerve to ask me if I've been watching the Bulls for the past two years.
    That's why I'm defensive about Noah. When we have people like him, with an agenda, who comes on this blog and pretends he's giving an honest opinion. Focus on Boozer's ineptness, not Noah who's trying to do two people's job. That's the foolishness that I have to put up with daily on this and the other blog.

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    In reply to SlamDunk:

    Here's an idea: If you think this site and BaB are a joke, don't read them!

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    We may never see eye to eye on Ben Gordon, but we are definitely on the same page with Noah. He is the Bull that I enjoy rooting for the most, maybe because he is a flawed player which leaves him open for wide ranging debate.

    Would we(you) be as high on Noah if he had been the #2 pick instead of the #9 pick?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    That's an interesting question, he'd still be one of my favorite players no matter what, but if we had taken him #2, you'd always be comparing him to Aldridge and feeling that we came up short.

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    Doug, really liked your question about Hinrich and the hard cap. Was hoping somebody would ask something like that. Should have known it would be you.

    Figured Gar would give the answer he did, although it's sort of bogus. He talked about not wanting to commit to three years of Hinrich due to S+T rules, but they probably could have made that 3rd year non-guaranteed.

    I'm guessing your assumption about scrambling for more money is what the real reason was. Really sucks that they felt they needed him so badly that they would hard cap themselves to get him, but oh well. Derrick obviously wanted him.

  • In reply to Jay Patt:

    Yeah, I have a hard time buying the idea that Kirk wouldn't take the third non guaranteed year, but it's possible. Though I was told the Bulls tried to do a sign and trade.

    I was surprised they didn't take the easy way out and simply say they valued the trade exception for the flexibility it added, but Gar didn't really take that life line when I threw it out there which indicates to me that the Bulls have no intention of using it or were already defensive about the topic.

  • I was very (pleasantly so) surprised that they hammered out this deal that seems to be a good one for both parties. In my view, that takes the off-season from a C- to a B-.

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