Mar 24, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau draws a play during a timeout against the Toronto Raptors during the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Don’t Believe the Hype: Thibodeau ‘Fine’ with Contract Situation


ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is “dismayed that he hasn’t been offered a more lucrative extension after signing a modest two-year contract with a team option when he joined the Bulls.”

ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that Tom Thibodeau has stated behind closed doors that he'd 'dismayed' with the lack of contract extension talk. (Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE)

This report comes after Thibodeau’s private associates told Stein Thibodeau hasn’t been notified that he’ll be extended after his current contract expires at the end of this season.

You can’t really blame Thibodeau for wanting to cash in on the success of last year. After all, Thibs was the Coach of the Year and took the very definition of an average basketball team and coached them to their first Eastern Conference Finals matchup since Phil Jackson was in his spot.

But you also can’t read too much into this story. It’s Marc Stein, he works for ESPN and he needs juicy topics for his Dime. Yes, Thibodeau hasn’t been extended yet, but if you hit the panic button because of something Dan Patrick regularly refers to as ‘The Mothership’ you’ve got other problems.

There are two reasons why Tom Thibodeau is not going to leave the Bulls after this season unless Jerry Reinsdorf completely goes Jim Irsay and fumbles the entire thing.

Thibodeau isn’t going to leave Chicago and even whispering that is not intelligent. He’s basically built the Bulls back to a respectable franchise and thanks to Derrick Rose he has a yearly contender for a title. Thibodeau loves the Bulls and loves his players. These are his guys and they would run through the fire’s of Hell for him.

In fact it’s his players, not Thibodeau who are not okay with the situation.

“He doesn’t talk about that stuff, but we need to get him an extension ASAP,” Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said. “He wouldn’t talk about that stuff, but we know how great he’s done for us and what he’s meant for our team and the system he’s putting us in and the way he’s been able to manage (the season). This is a tough season — 66 games crunched into like four months.”

Even Thibodeau says things are merely being blown out of proportion and seemed agitated at the notion he’d be asked about his contract rather then the game he just coached.

“I’m not worried about any of that stuff. I’m under contract. I’m fine with everything here.”

The other reason Thibodeau stays is where is he going to go?

If Thibodeau leaves — which won’t be until after next season because the Bulls hold an option on his contract — it will be because it was a money issue. Where would Thibodeau go that affords him the luxuries Chicago does in terms of his roster?

Charlotte? Phoenix?

Thibodeau is the fastest coach to 100 career wins and won the Coach of the Year award in his first season. (Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE)

One logical place would be Los Angeles for either the Clippers or the Lakers. Thibodeau would fit well with the Clippers and wold be playing Vinny Del Negro successor yet again and be walking into almost the same situation with Chris Paul at the point.

This MIGHT happen — and if I could make MIGHT any larger and obnoxious I would — if Jerry Reinsdorf repeats history. Just go ask Scott Skiles and Phil Jackson how easy it was to pry money away from Reinsdorf’s hands. After Jordan retired, Jackson didn’t think twice about getting a pay bump in L.A. Skiles walked away as well but to calm the bridge jumpers, both stayed on after having to fight for their money at one point or another.

I agree with Stein in one point he makes, no matter how much he glossed over it. This situation doesn’t mean it’s the beginning of the beginning of the end for the Tom Thibodeau era in Chicago. It should, however, be monitored but not very closely. This is an issue that would be a bigger deal if it was next year and the Bulls didn’t have the option as leverage.

But nevertheless, Thibodeau has earned his money. He’s the youngest coach to reach 100 career wins doing it in just 130 games. He was the Coach of the Year in his first year as an NBA head coach and what he’s done for the Bulls would make it seem like Reinsdorf is indebted to Thibodeau for getting Chicago back on track as quickly as he has.

Monitor this, don’t jump off a bridge.

Thibs is going to be back regardless next year and by the time we get to this point next year, this contract negotiation stuff will be a thing of the past.

“I wouldn’t worry about it if I was y’all,” Boozer said. “I’m not worried about it. I don’t think he’s worried about it.”

After the game against the Pistons, Thibodeau had to address his contract; something he didn’t seem to enjoy doing. He said he was fine with his current deal and isn’t worried about the future.

Glad you didn’t jump?

Besides — if the Bulls win a title, we might just settle all this when Thibodeau hoists that trophy.

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