My quick take: I am excited. Thibs was the best candidate available and gives the Bulls the best chance to land a top free agent. He is a defensive mastermind and will give the Bulls the identity that they have lacked for a few years. I really hope to see D-Rose finally develop some D (possibly playing safety like Rondo) and would love to see how good Noah can be with some coaching.
Thibodeau has been rumored as a top head-coaching candidate for a couple years, and it seems he is ready to make the leap. Supposedly he wants to run a drive-and-kick style offense. We have the first part of that with D-Rose, but will need to add a shooter (or shooters) to make it work.
My hesitation about the hire? Thibodeau is a great assistant, but who knows how he will be as a head coach? Yes, we have an identity, but we also have a head coach who has never been in that position before. I think Thibodeau will be great, but I don't know for sure. It always takes a coach a couple years to truly understand the "game-management" part of coaching (when to call timeouts, sticking with a rotation v. playing a hot player, etc.), so I am hoping the Bulls are really committed to Thibodeau. I don't want the organization (or the fans) to get impatient after 1 or 2 seasons and have to start this over.
So let's give the new coach a top free agent, and stick with the coach/core/identity for many seasons and really develop something.
As always, Click-a-Bull:
The Bulls and Tom Thibodeau have a deal
With K.C. Johnson reporting that the Chicago Bulls have come to terms with Boston assistant coach Tom Thibodeau on a three-year deal to coach the Bulls, Chicago fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Their team has just hired the best candidate possible.
And the Chicago front office can enjoy another sigh of relief, because despite their worst effort, they just dodged another mediocrity bullet.
Because the Bulls nearly blew it, again, with Thibodeau, the (say it with me) highly-regarded Celtic assistant. The team, curiously, never even interviewed him during their search for a head coach in 2008, at a time when Thibodeau's stock was, at the very least, as high as it stands right now. The team didn't move an inch toward considering him, instead flirting very publically with Mike D'Antoni, doing all but hiring Doug Collins, and settling (in a settle for the ages) on Vinny Del Negro.
VDN managed a .500 record in two seasons with Chicago, and despite major roster turnover and a terrible relationship with team management, it was still a disappointing turn. Del Negro just wasn't ready to lead an NBA team, which shouldn't be a surprise as he hadn't coached on any level prior to taking the job. His work was so poor, even considering the mitigating circumstances, that the Bulls even tossed musings out to the media that they wouldn't even consider dealing with a candidate with no head coaching experience.
Thibodeau doesn't have any head-coaching experience, in the NBA at least. He did run a Division III team for a season, Salem, back in 1984; but beyond that he's more or less spent his time as the top defensive guru for some of the top defensive teams of this generation.
And considering the options beyond Thibodeau, those with head coaching experience to fall back on, the Boston assistant had to be Chicago's choice. Mo Cheeks just hasn't worked as a head man, Eric Mussleman has talent but has also flamed out of a couple of gigs, Lawrence Frank is a sound coach but not the highlight name Chicago needs at this point, and Dwane Casey is a terrific talent with a mindset that the Bulls front office, for whatever reason, did not appreciate.
No, it had to be Thibodeau. And why it took so long for Chicago to swoop in and interview the man that seemed the obvious choice both in 2008 and 2010, seems beyond my comprehension. Word is that Chicago has had Boston's permission for weeks to speak with the assistant, and yet they didn't really make a move until Wednesday night, the eve of the biggest coaching game of Thibodeau's career, to deal with the man.
Thibodeau hired to coach Bulls
The Bulls have a new coach, Tom Thibodeau of the Boston Celtics.
Thibodeau, according to reliable sources, agreed to a three-year deal early Saturday afternoon to become the 15th (not counting interims) coach in Bulls history.
Thibodeau currently is the associate head coach of the Celtics, who are down 1-0 in the NBA Finals.
NBA rules do not allow the announcement of significant transactions like a trade or coaching hire during the Finals so as not to distract from the league’s premier annual event.
I know. Apparently this memo never reached LeBron James.
So the Bulls declined comment.
But reliable sources close to Thibodeau confirmed that Thibodeau received the three-year offer worth some $6.5 million late Friday and agreed early Saturday.
Sources also said Thibodeau is trying to persuade Oklahoma City Thunder assistants Mo Cheeks and Ron Adams to join his staff in Chicago with holdover Pete Myers.
Thibodeau also is not expected to comment until the Finals conclude and under rules of the Celtics assistant coaches cannot do interviews with the media.
Unlike the interview process, which was permitted by the league to be public, the Bulls will have to wait to make the official announcement. Team officials could not be reached for comment.
But it was clear with word from Thibodeau’s associates the deal is done and that Thibodeau is thrilled. Thibodeau made the unusual commitment to pass on several job opportunities just for the chance to be considered a prime candidate for the Bulls job.
Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers Discuss Tom Thibodeau's New Job With the Bulls
With the reports surfacing today that Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau has accepted an offer from the Bulls to become their next head coach, it was only natural for the subject to come up at practice Saturday, as Boston continued its preparation for Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday.
Doc Rivers did his best to not comment too much on it, and refused to confirm that Thibodeau had actually taken the position. But he did talk a little about the situation, and was clear in pointing out that whatever happens with the man who has essentially been his defensive coordinator, it will not be a distraction during this series.
"It won't have an impact, right now we're focusing on basketball," Rivers said. "I'm not going to confirm it. I hope it's true, but we're not going to comment on it, I can tell you that. We're focused on the NBA Finals, and there's two teams: there's the Lakers and the Celtics, and that's what we're going to keep the focus on.
"But on Tom, he deserves a job. I think he's the best candidate out there. I've said that for three years now. But other than that, we're going to leave it at that."
Paul Pierce was a little more forthcoming, and talked about the influence Thibodeau has had on this Celtics team.
"[Thibodeau] has been major to a lot of things we do, but so have a lot of other coaches on our staff," Pierce said. "I think Doc does a pretty good job of expanding their roles. Before Doc got here with his staff you really didn't see too much of that with the past coaches. Especially [Thibodeau], everybody knows his role with this ballclub is mainly with the defense, even though a lot of us believe he can do other things, but that's just his role and I think his influence, just defensively on this team has been major for us in getting to the point we're at right now."