Tom Thibodeau finally kills speculation

Tom Thibodeau finally kills speculation

When asked whether or not he'd coach the Chicago Bulls next year, Tom Thibodeau finally gave the answer he should have been given all along.

He'd previously said things like "I want to be here, but it's not up to me" indicating that management might unload him which is more or less ridiculous thinking. Tom's one of the top five coaches in the NBA, and it's not hard to make a case for him being one of the top two.

He's been a head coach for four seasons, and a case could be made for having him as coach of the year in all four. Most interestingly, that case would have been radically different as he actually won the award for coach on the best team and could have won it again his second year for the same reason.

However, in his third season, he warranted credit as the coach who did the most with the least. With Rose out and Deng gone, he'll get earn consideration under the same light this season if the Bulls play well down the stretch.

Despite his brilliant track record, a concept that he might and how to handle that exit was elevated to the idea that he might actually leave. Then the idea appeared to gain traction with the media and fans even though the underlying premises have changed somewhat.

Take these three things:
1: Thibodeau has a rift with the front office which was made worse by the removal of Ron Adams.

2: At one point, the Bulls had the eighth worst record in the league and had just went 1-3 in four games against the bottom five including two against the worst team in the league. It looked possible he had lost the team.

3: The Celtics moved Doc Rivers to get value back.

Add those up, and the idea was if the rift has grown too far, if no reconciliation is possible, then the Bulls have to find a suitor similar to the Celtics with Rivers. An area where they can move Thibodeau and get a pick back as compensation rather than having to actually eat his contract. Given Tom's performance and the Lakers/Knicks/Nets needs/willingness to spend, such a move seems plausible.

However, what's always been far more plausible is that Tom Thibodeau simply stay with the Chicago Bulls and continue to prove deserving of coach of the year awards. I know he plays guys into the ground. I know he has some minor flaws, but in the end, it isn't getting better than this folks.

If Tom's not your guy, please tell me which available coach is and ask yourself in an honest moment if you think that guy could really keep a team motivated like Tom does, if he could make them want it like Tom does, and if he teach like Tom does.

The #1 indicator (IMO) of successful coaching is defense. You can coach offense to an extent, but offense is frequently based simply on what talent level your team has. Most NBA players can play defense when given the proper motivation and right environment, and Tom Thibodeau's teams always play great defense.

This has been true up and down every organization he's been with as an assistant and especially true with the Bulls as a head coach. Playing defense is about commitment and will. Some players have those traits more than others, but all players will shift their level of engagement based on the leadership, and Tom Thibodeau is a tremendous leader.

He's the coach who can still talk to his guys right now about winning a championship this season, even though we all feel it's ridiculous, and get buy-in from his players. He can do that despite failing to win for the past three seasons.

No, Tom Thibodeau's not going anywhere. The Bulls front office isn't that stupid, regardless of what rift they have. As long as Thibs doesn't lose the team, as long as those 13 guys buy in to what he's selling, Tom will have a home in Chicago.

It's nice to hear him finally confirm that without any hints to the opposite. This time he finally shut down the rumor.


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  • Thibs has elevated this team way past any reasonable expectations, every single season he has coached. This current season is probably the most telling of all.

    Look at it this way; under Thibs this team is in serious contention for a 3rd seed in the east. If the Bulls were being coached by Vinny on the other hand, this same exact team would be in serious contention for a top 3 draft pick. That's a big friggin' swing just based on coaching.

  • Also, an off-topic question....

    Is there any way the Bulls look at picking up Granger after his buyout, or would that not be financially viable? Seems like he could provide some value coming off the bench in limited minutes.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    It seems fairly unlikely. The Bulls seem adamant on wanting to make sure they'll stay under the luxury tax even if Gibson hits 1st team defense which means they have to juggle 10 days for most of the rest of the season.

    If Granger were willing to wait the Bulls could eventually do it, but he doesn't have any incentive.

  • No chance Granger signs with Bulls THIS YEAR. At least for this year, Granger will only sign with title contender.

  • In reply to RichG:

    Maybe, or maybe Danny Granger wants to go somewhere that will make the playoffs, but he'll actually get a larger role in order to have a chance to prove his value and get a contract next year.

    If he wants to win, there are a couple places he should sign, but if he wants to make an impact and prove himself, Chicago is a better situation than most. The Bulls could use a ball handler/creator, and still have a good shot of getting to the second round.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Conversely, Granger can do himself more harm if he fails to lift the Bulls past the 1st round, while playing major minutes.

  • In reply to RichG:

    His stock can't go down much further, right now I'm not sure he gets more than the vet min next year.

  • The FO might as well let Thibs go also--that's what they are good at--letting excellence go. Even with a good draft after this season, the Bulls will not be a contender next year or the year after. Fans need to respond now by not going to games--and demanding excellence or we are doomed to cheer for a sub-standard product.
    There needs to be a staff change in the FO which is only good for filling the stadium and placating superficial fans who just come to games to simply be seen. The Chicago Bulls are a cash cow, and the owner knows he does not have to win in order to draw a crowd--it's a situation like the Chicago Cubs--we are almost cursed. After 40 years being a Bull's fan I and many others have come to this conclusions. Just ask around to confirm this.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    How are the Bulls "almost cursed"? They dominated the ENTIRE league for the better part of a decade in the 90s, which included arguably one of the greatest teams in NBA history; and since 2010 have consistently produced some very entertaining basketball.

    85% of the league will not be contenders next year, or any year thereafter...that's a lot of cursed teams!

  • In reply to penwit1:

    Dude, they've been in the luxury tax the last season or two. They've been way over the cap.

    Ask anyone who plays for him, Reinsdorf is a great human being and leader. The Konerko moment when he handed Reinsdorf the ball was touching and shows how he connects with players and staff. There was just a recent article about how many in the NBA, players, coaches, front office staff, really think highly of Reinsdorf.

    The Bulls will spend when they have a chance. Obviously, they are not going to spend when they are rebuilding, or in a transition year such as this year. Plus, jumping out of the tax this year allows them to jump back in with no repeater tax in a season or two... when the time is right.

    Stop making ignorant comments. If the Bulls were not committed to winning, they would not have signed Augstin and would be in the lottery by playing Teague.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    Do you feel better after your rant? I hope you do, because I otherwise can't make sense of why you'd post what you posted, you're not going to convince anyone to lose hope just because you have.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    If Derrick Rose is healthy, the Bulls will likely be one of the top 5 teams to compete for the title next year, if not, then they won't. However, that won't be related to whether management les guys go or not.

    Management has done a good job of keeping talent rotating in while keeping their finances in line for the most part.

  • Not sure why there is a rift here. GarPax should be kissing Thibs butt every day of every week for making their poorly balanced rosters competive year after year. No one has done more with less and maybe if GarPax actually gave this guy some real ammunition we could really be competing for championships. This is my real issue with the egomaniacs in the front office. Why is Paxson and BJ Armstrong (Roses Agent) not on speaking terms? Why is Thibs and Gar not speaking and Gar going as far as firing Thibs top assistant behind Thibs back? What has Gar Forman ever done to possibly think he knows more about anything than Thibs does? To me he is just a stooge promoted to be the front man for Paxson because he couldn't take the heat of being the face of the Bulls FO after that epic fail of a year that ended up lucking us into Rose.

    Thibs is the best thing the Bulls have IMO and that includes Rose (Rose never being healthy makes my case an easy one). Someone needs to put the FO in line before they go too far. IMO Gar should get the axe and bring some new blood that can perhaps scout scorers? I know that is a radical idea the whole drafting or signing offensive players but it could be good for a team that is dead last in you know offense.

  • In reply to Chad:


    Bulls front office is one of the best. GarPax has drafted well going back to Paxon's inception. Most of the talent has been home grown through the draft - Deng, Hinrich, Rose, Noah, Taj, Butler, Snell (too early to tell), Gordon, Mirotic. Many of those guys were mid-late 1st rounders. Not many busts - Thomas, Teague, J.Johnson.

    It's a shame that Bulls could not lose another few games and end up with Wade instead of Hinrich back in 2003.

    Tell me what free agent would have made a difference over the years? Was there a player passed up in the draft that would have made a difference?

    They also hired Thibs when nobody else would. (He had an offer from NO in 2010, I think, but chose the Bulls.)

    In 2010, Bulls did not get the Miami threesome, but all came away quite impressed with the professionalism of the Bulls management and pitch. (Unlike some like the Clips back then and NJ)

  • In reply to Granby:

    So to be clear in your opinion hitting on two late round picks in a decade makes GarPax beyond reproach? Because all I asked was why do they have so many people so pissed at them that they are not even on a speaking basis. Sure I will give you they are above average but if it ever comes to Thibs or Gar the choice is a no brainer.

  • The Bull's got lucky with the invincible Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and now they are living off of that success--the past. Can we afford to dwell on the past?
    The Celtic's and the Laker's built their dynasties upon tradition--can Chicago afford not to see what they have done through the years and not follow suit. Look at how they still keep Coby on the roster at top pay--never even worried about the luxury tax that dominates Chicago's FO mindset--even though the team is the 3rd most profitable team in the league for years.

    Derrick Rose, will be healthy when he returns--but, will he just be another Ernie Banks--on a team destined to be losers. Is management expecting Rose to be another Jordan? Will this kid Rose, hurt himself again trying to carry a team all by himself (even with the will of Noah).

    Players around the league don't want to play for the Bulls--look at how Dwayne Wade loves the Bulls and yet does not want to play for Chicago--not even to play with Rose. Something is wrong here? I may call it a curse but it may be another name. Where is the loyality to players like Deng who give their heart and soul to a team--only to find themselves traded in favor of future rookies who have never earned any recognition?
    I didn't mind coming to games when he was a Bull and it took him years to earn our respect as fans--we came to games knowing the Bulls were not championship bound--we came because of our loyalty, because their work ethic, and we love basketball.
    We criticized Thibs for his abuse of player time but we loved his winning attitude and hard earnest work. We waited years for Asik to come to Chicago and then when he became a fairly good player, the FO let him go for virtually nothing.
    What I am looking at is the Chicago Cub-like direction the team is heading for which I can visualize after years of being a dedicated Bulls fan--others may not see this direction, point of view, nor may they share my perspective--but, many fans are out there who may agree whole heartlily with me.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    I think you are way off base.
    1. Signing Kobe recently is not going to kill the Lakers. It was a two year deal. Is he worth that deal - no way.
    2. No NBA team will hang out in the tax indefinitely. Even NJ. When they tear down this team, they will be horrific for a few years and jump out of the tax. Same goes for NY and LA.
    3. Celtics were the laughing stock of the NBA in the 90's and most of last decade. They did not win between 1986 and 2008 and were terrible for just about all those years.
    4. If Lebron stayed in Cleveland and Bosh joined him, Wade may have jumped to Chicago. He is a Bulls fan at heart and would play for Chicago in a heartbeat. But, he was drafted by Miami. They call it "Wade" County. He owns the city, even with LeBron. He's in a great spot and he knows it.
    5. Lucky to draft Jordan? Bulls were incredibly lucky that Houston won the coin flip with Portland back in 1984. Otherwise, Houston would have drafted Jordan #2. But, so what? NBA has always been about talent. Lakers were lucky to have the #1 pick when Magic was drafted. Cleveland was lucky in 2003 to have the #1 pick. OKC was lucky they had the #2 pick and picked Durant instead of Oden. Every team is lucky that ends up drafting well, but that's why they call it a lottery!
    6. Pippen was no accident. You win some and you lose some, but Krause wanted Pippen bad. He thought that he would get him, but had to trade up at the last minute b/c Pippen rose prior to the draft.
    7. You were sitting around waiting for Asik to join the Bulls? Really? He was a 2nd round pick with little fan-fare. I hardly heard anything about the guy except that maybe he would not be a stiff. Another big draft "win" for Gar-Pax. Too bad he would not resign, but he's currently untradeable due to his contract. Do we really want him for $15 mil next year?

  • In reply to penwit1:

    Optimists have fewer health problems and live longer, happier lives than pessimists. Attitude is a choice. Think about it.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Probably not applicable hear, but I've heard it said that inside the chest of every current day cynic lies the beating heart of a former idealist.

    Personally, I think that he is just plain unstable and borderline insane(probably a manic personality), we've certainly had our share of those guys on this site over the years.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    The only team to have a dynasty of changing players is really the Lakers. The Celtics were simply awful for a really, really long time between Bird and the latest big 3. What was that like 20 years?

    I guess the Celtics had a tradition from Russell to Bird, but that was back when there were far fewer teams as well. In the salary cap era, the only team that's had sustained success with multiple generations has been the Lakers.

    Let's see if the Lakers can do it again.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Eventhough I don't trust Jim Buss, the Lakers have too much built up equity around the league to stay down for too long, not to mention their Time Warner cable contract.

  • In reply to RichG:

    The Lakers have a lot of advantages.
    1: History
    2: Money
    3: City
    4: Climate

    They might be #1 in the NBA in all four of those categories. That said, it will be interesting to see how much that buys them. They still need the right players to be available at the right time.

  • Would you rather sign Ben Gordon or Jimmy Freddette to our roster?

  • In reply to FreeJoakim:

    tough call... probably neither?

  • In reply to FreeJoakim:

    I'd take Gordon, but I doubt the Bull want either.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Yea, that's just what doctor Thibs ordered, the bozohole and the baby bozohole on the same team. His head would explode if those 2 guys were ever on the court at the same time, he'd have to call a time out after every defensive possession. Give me the Big Baby anyday over either of those guys.

    I guess that you will never get over your man crush on Mr Mope a Dope(Gordon). Personally, I couldn't be happier about how his career has turned out, exactly as I predicted when he turned down the Bulls $50 million plus offer.

    The only more fitting outcome, is that he becomes one of those guys who squanders all his money after his career and ends up homeless.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Eh, I don't hold that high of hopes for Gordon, but we could use the scoring.

  • In reply to FreeJoakim:

    thats a no brainer, Freddette or neither, but again the Bulls do not appear likely to sign anybody to anything for fear of going back into the tax.

    As much as we would all enjoy adding some/any talent to the roster you really can't blame them as non of these guys is going to make much of a difference this season, although I would have like Big Baby coming off the bench for us.

    I really can't believe that Orlando bought him out this season since he still had over $6 million due next season. Maybe he becomes a candidate for a BozoHole replacement for next season.

  • Off topic, but the Kings are apparently working on a buyout for Jimmer. I'd take a long look if I'm the Bulls, he comes with defensive liabilities but is still shooting around 50% from 3 for the season. Maybe Thibs can help him become a solid rotational player, lord knows the Bulls can use more shooting. No real downside, provided they could figure out how to bring him in without triggering the luxury tax.

  • Everybody here must get a paycheck from the Chicago Bulls--what have the Celtic's done lately--I agree, nothing--but, count the numbers of championships they and the Lakers have. They both have a culture of winning Championships and that's what I'm talking about here--I'm not talking about being 1 of the 5 best teams in the league when Rose appears. I'm talking about being the best in basketball--that's where I'd like to see the Bulls. I guess you all are happy as long as the team is good--but, not good enough to be champions. So, go ahead encourage the Bulls to get inexperienced young players like Jimmer--and see if that's gonna put any banners on the stadium wall. And I'm not putting down Jimmer--I think his potential is good. The best players don't want to come to Chicago and play with the Bulls--even if they have successful history with Thibs. And that is the reality guys that you all fail to see!

  • In reply to penwit1:

    Your arguments are so inconsistent that they're not worth debating but in my unprofessional opinion you sound depressed. Every pessimist I've ever met uses the word "reality" to defend his pessimism but your negative point of view is not "reality," it's just your point of view. Go ahead and belittle other's points of view if it makes you feel better.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Did belittling Penwit1 make you feel better, Roman F?
    Because belittling is all you did, you certainly didn't respond substantively basketball-wise to him in your two posts where you question his mental health.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I get what your saying, but in this particular case there is some validity to what Roman is saying even if you don't like the spirit in which it was said. I think that he is reacting to the arrogant, disrespectful, belittling style of the poster more than the content of the post.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I had no intent of belittling the person, and am sorry if it can across that way. I did call his arguments inconsistent but I didn't call him any names or anything, I just wanted to point out that he comes across as very depressed in my opinion and that his view of "reality" is a negative, depressed view of it. I'm not stating those things to belittle anyone, depression is a serious thing and I wouldn't belittle anyone for being depressed.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I believe this is a blog for armchair basketball GMs, not armchair psychologists or armchair psychiatrists. Can we keep it that way?

  • In reply to Edward:

    If someone comes across as clinically depressed, I feel obligated to point it out, whatever the context. Sorry you don't like it, I don't like all your posts either.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    If I didn't make it clear earlier, I'll try to this time. Where do you get-off labeling anyone as 'clinically depressed?' I seriously doubt you possess the necessary medical certifications to diagnose or even label someone as such. And no, you have no such obligation to do so. So just stick to basketball.

    We don't have to like everyone's comments, and sometimes we disagree, even testily. But your feigned concern and imagined obligation is merely cover for having taken a cheap shot at a guy. If we don't like someone's post about basketball, respond with basketball comments, Penwit1 wasn't discussing mental health.

  • Dynasty's aside, Dallas and San Antonio have had offensively entertaining and wining franchises for a long time. Dirk and Duncan aside, they've continually offered an offensively entertaining product. Other then Rose 1.9% luckout, unlike Dallas and S.A., I can't think of one in their prime all-star scorer they have ever provided for Bulls fans let alone an offensively entertaining roster. Ben Gordon did have a couple of exciting seasons. Still, I don't think Gar/Pax are capable of providing a long term offensively entertaining roster based on their shitty track record. We'll see. The draft awaits..for them to f-ck it up.

  • Thanks Edward and RoadWarrior for your support. We are all entitled to our opinions--this should create a healthy environment--after all enjoying the Bulls are one of our favorite pasttimes. This is a game we all enjoy watching and talking about--it is only a game and not our lives. We all must stay positive about their success without throwing eggs at one another. I look at the FO and I have not expressed my opinion even when I disagreed with their moves--after all they are right there and we as fans are far from the actual scene--and still I am entitled to my opinion just like all of you. We are all on the same team guys, even when we are not on the same page. Let's act like team-mates and not enemies. Read what is written and not create an unnecessary argument to gain attention. Good conversation and debate is good, exciting, and envigorating. Have a beautiful day--everybody.

  • From Grant Lowe on the All Star game.

    You know why there were a lot of highlights? Because nobody was trying on defense. Well, check that. Joakim Noah was trying, because Joakim Noah knows no way to play other than balls-out. I wonder if the other All-Stars find him annoying.

    I hope that they do/did.

  • According to Deeks the 10 day contract parade can end 4/3 and we can then afford to sign someone for the remainder of the season which would give them 7 games to acclimate prior to the postseason.

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