While it’s only a matter of time before the Chicago Bulls give Tom Thibodeau a contract extension, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported Friday night that the head coach has made his displeasure known due to the fact that he hasn’t received a new deal from the organization.
The Bulls signed Thibodeau to a two-year contract plus a team option in 2010 after parting ways with current Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro.
Thibodeau, who served two decades as an assistant coach before landing the Bulls’ head job, has had plenty of success over the course of his two seasons in Chicago. He won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award last season when the Bulls compiled the league’s best record (62-20); earned the right to coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars in this year’s annual showcase and became the fastest head coach to 100 regular-season victories in NBA history after last week’s 85-59 rout of the Orlando Magic.
Still, the Bulls have not inked the 54-year-old Thibodeau to a contract extension. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told the Chicago Tribune in February that “we certainly hope and expect that Tom will be with the Bulls well beyond his current contract,” but, as the ESPN.com report stated, the club has a long-standing history of being involved in tough negotiations when it comes to re-upping a prominent figure of the team.
While Bulls fans can certainly understand why he would be upset with the lack of a new contract, Thibodeau denied the report late Friday night, even claiming that he hadn’t read it, and made it clear that he’s more than happy with his current situation.
“I don’t know where that’s coming from and I’m not worried about any of that stuff,” Thibodeau told reporters after the Bulls’ 83-71 win over the Detroit Pistons. “I’m under contract and I’m fine with everything here.”
At this point, exercising Thibodeau’s team option for 2012-13 is simply a formality, although the Bulls have the ability to wait before doing so.
Thibodeau has established himself as one of the best coaches in the NBA and is again a candidate – some around the league believe a front-runner – to win this season’s Coach of the Year, as he has led the Bulls to a 42-11 mark despite the fact that the team has missed star point guard Derrick Rose, Rip Hamilton and C.J. Watson for large chunks of the campaign.
Bulls players are well aware that Thibodeau has changed the team’s culture during his tenure as coach, and they obviously hope that he sticks around long-term, which the squad’s hierarchy has the pressure to make come to fruition.
“I think that Thibs really changed the philosophy around here," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "I know that without Thibs we wouldn’t be in this position right now. As a player, you control what you can control. But, if you ask me, I’ll go to bat for Thibs any day.”