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Doc Rivers says Bulls would be “nuts” to let Tom Thibodeau leave

Jan 24, 2014, 5:38 PM EDT

Tom Thibodeau is old school, hard-driving, a work-a-holic who is in to win now no matter who is on the roster. If Jimmy Butler has to play 60 minutes in a 3OT game, so be it. Wins are what matter.

Those kinds of coaches, even when they have success, can wear on players and an organization. Throw in the complex, often uneasy relationships Thibodeau has with the Bulls front office — he didn’t want to trade Luol Deng — and you get rumors. Like that the Knicks might chase him. Like that he is not long for Chicago. Those kinds of rumors have swirled around the Bulls all season (and Thibodeau has denied them.

Doc Rivers — who had Thibodeau as an assistant in Boston when they won the 2008 NBA Title — said the Bulls would be nuts to let Thibodeau go, and if they did things would fall apart fast, as reported at

“He’s under contract, so yeah, I don’t know why he wouldn’t be. I think it’d be nuts not to have him here. I think he’s one of the best coaches in the league and so if you have that, that’s an asset. And I don’ think any right-minded organization would allow that asset to leave, Rivers told reporters. “Because with all the adversity they’ve had with injuries, if you allow that one to leave things would fall apart, and that’s pretty much a guarantee.”

“I think every year is his best coaching job, honestly. Last year he went through it, the year before,” Rivers said. “Every year people keep expecting them to fall and they don’t, and the guy that’s standing there is Tom Thibodeau. He’s the guy, he’s the difference, he holds them together somehow. They trade Deng and yet they keep winning. The guy that’s standing every day is Tom, and I think it’s impressive what he’s done.”

“He just doesn’t relent. He doesn’t believe that because a guy gets injured, even Rose, that a team should go away. I think he instills that in his players and he has some pretty good players. Noah is the other guy that stands out to me. They have a lot of like-minded players to Thibs. I think it’s all because they’ve been around Tom.”

No doubt Thibodeau can be hard to work with at times — the best guys, the driven guys, almost always are. You think management in Chicago and Los Angeles always loved Phil Jackson? But if the guy is elite at what he does, you put up with more because he’s so good.

That’s Thibodeau. Chicago can’t let him leave. If he did, there would be a mile-long line at the exit of other teams trying to sign him.

  1. cbking05 - Jan 24, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    Doc has a man crush…

  2. asimonetti88 - Jan 24, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    “You think management in Chicago and Los Angeles always loved Phil Jackson?”

    Phil Jackson is marrying Lakers management

    • casualcommenter - Jan 25, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      Unfortunately for Phil, he’s marrying the Buss heir without any control over basketball/personnel decisions.

  3. shanelsweet - Jan 24, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    Maybe they could trade him like Ainge traded Doc to the Clippers?

  4. joro5551 - Jan 24, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    They’d be nuts to let him leave, unless they actually were looking to bottom out in the near future?

  5. lakerade - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    Doc knows that if Thibs did leave he’d be coming to LA so what else is he going to say?

    • gostlcards5 - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:43 PM

      I don’t think that’s the case. I think that Doc is saying something that he believes is true, in a respectful way, about someone within his coaching tree.

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