HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — After taking a little summer vacation from the negotiating table, the Bulls and coach Tom Thibodeau have resumed talks about a long-term extension for the fastest coach to 100 wins in NBA history.
The Bulls have been standouts in Thibodeau’s first two seasons, leading the league in wins during the regular season both times. Thibodeau was Coach of the Year after his first season and finished second last season. You’d think there was nothing to negotiate but how long Thibodeau wanted his contract. But somehow, things broke down earlier this summer.
But with the start of training camp just weeks away, Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com reports that the two sides are back at work on an extension:
Reports surfaced last season that Thibodeau was unhappy he did not have an extension secured. Forman then appeared on “The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show” on ESPN 1000 and stated that talks had begun before last season and would resume after the season.
Thibodeau and Forman did not immediately return phone messages.
Bulls players, notably Derrick Rose, have been vocal in support of their coach. While Thibodeau has a hard-charging mentality, Bulls players respect the way he prepares and appreciate his work ethic.
ESPN analyst and Thibodeau friend Jeff Van Gundy recently told ESPNChicago.com’s Melissa Isaacson that Thibodeau’s potential new deal “seems like the easiest negotiation of all time.”
“If I was (the Bulls) and Tom agreed to what (Oklahoma City’s) Scott Brooks got (a reported four-year deal worth approximately $18 million), the whole thing would take 25 seconds,” said Van Gundy, who hired Thibodeau as an assistant with the New York Knicks. “It’s a no-brainer … My thing is he’s an elite coach and should be paid like one.”
There’s no doubt about that.
Thibodeau is absolutely an elite coach, one of the very best in the business. And he’ll have to prove it this season with the uncertainty surrounding Rose’s return (and just how healthy the Bulls’ superstar will be this season).