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Report: Tom Thibodeau would only leave Bulls for head coaching job with Knicks

May 24, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

Tom Thibodeau AP

Tom Thibodeau is widely regarded as one of the league’s best coaches for the way he has gotten an undermanned Bulls team to give maximum effort and play harder than everyone else on a seemingly nightly basis.

Because of this, along with a reportedly somewhat rocky relationship with the Chicago front office, there are plenty of teams looking at acquiring his services, despite the fact that he is currently under contract to coach the Bulls for the next three seasons.

But there’s supposedly only one job that would truly cause him to consider making a change.

From Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report (via HoopsHype):

“There’s only one place that Thibodeau would really push to go elsewhere, and that’s to go back to the New York Knicks,” Bucher said. “That, I’m told by one source, is actually his dream job, to go back and get the Knicks back on the map. But short of that, he realizes that no matter where he goes, the grass isn’t always greener.”

The reasons Thibodeau might look to leave include the firing of his top assistant coach, Ron Adams, which was a decision made by GM Gar Forman last summer — an unusual one in NBA circles, considering head coaches typically make those choices. And, the team traded well-respected veteran Luol Deng at the deadline for nothing more than protected future first round draft picks, along with some immediate salary savings.

But despite all that, staying in Chicago has its advantages. Derrick Rose has to be healthy one of these seasons, and adding the former MVP to a team already loaded with talent like Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler would make the Bulls immediate contenders in a watered-down Eastern Conference.

The good news for Chicago is that it would appear unlikely that New York would come calling anytime soon. Not only does president of basketball operations Phil Jackson want to get someone to coach the Knicks with whom he has an established previous relationship, but New York has almost nothing to offer in terms of compensation should the Bulls agree to let Thibodeau out of his contract.

Thibodeau appears set to stay put for now. But until he or the Bulls release a statement saying so, his name will continue to come up as a possibility to fill one of the more attractive coaching vacancies this offseason.

  1. cruzan80 - May 24, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    Please sweet lord baby Jesus let this “report” be true.

    -Knick fans all over the world

  2. eugenesaxe1 - May 24, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    Thibs is an established coach with his own style, that doesn’t fit into Phil’s coaching-by-proxy ideal.

    • antistratfordian - May 24, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      Thibs doesn’t really have an offensive style – he could use the triangle offense. I don’t think Phil would argue with Thib’s defensive approach at all.

      • ProBasketballPundit - May 24, 2014 at 7:17 PM

        You just talked me into it. Actually.. I hate the Knicks so you just gave me a reason to hate this possibility.

  3. sportsfan18 - May 24, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    Uh, Phil should be saying “Welcome to NYC and the Knicks coach”

    And I do NOT like the Knicks. I’m a long time Bulls fan from the mid 70’s.

    Phil should be flying to Chicago right now to help him pack…

  4. namaths5thofwhiskey - May 24, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    I wish…..

  5. leahcima1 - May 24, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    Interesting. Thibodeau would run things his way, a winning way. Defense and teamwork. If Jackson hires him and then gets out if the way the Knicks could finally be winners, – in three four years. They have to get rid of Anthony or Anthony has to commit to Thibbs way. Then restock with some real players. Interesting.

    • antistratfordian - May 24, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      They don’t need Jackson to get out of the way. They need Jackson to guide the offense, because Thibs has no clue on that side of the ball.

      • leahcima1 - May 24, 2014 at 11:05 PM

        You proposing a dual coaching staff? One for the defense and one for the offense.

  6. chicagofan4ever - May 24, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    I have to says I like your Sense of Humor Thibs! Considering going to the Knicks can be nothing other than a joke. Phil ‘s my man to, but the only thing saving the Knicks is New Ownership!

  7. chicagofan4ever - May 24, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    Thins can change Melo’s ways enough Defensively with the On Court & Locker Room Leadership of Noah. Also they do not need his Offensive Game to change much. Melo in Chicago is just what we need if management doesn’t screw it up.

  8. saint1997 - May 24, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    Yeh I’m worried on offence here. Melo goes Iso when coaches don’t give him a solid offensive system that fits his game, because the team has no other way to score. I feel that would happen under Thibs

    • chicagofan4ever - May 24, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      That is where Noah’s Leadership steps in to reign Melo back in and put the team first. Noah has the Leadership Ability to handle this situation.

  9. stadix093 - May 24, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    As a Lakers fan, this burns a lot more than Dwight leaving. Can’t say I blame him though.

    • jimeejohnson - May 25, 2014 at 1:57 AM

      Finally a Lakers fan who doesn’t hate on Dwight. Why would Howard stay in a losing situation with the Lakers? They literally were one of the worst teams in the league this year, and Howard knew it and wanted out.

  10. adoombray - May 24, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    Who is the source? Phil Jackson? I don’t buy that Thibs is unhappy there, I really think it’s something that other teams use (“anonymous sourcing” to reporters who are happy to have stuff to report) to see if they can smoke him out. If he wanted to leave he’d respond publicly or make it happen behind the scenes and there would be a LOT more smoke than there usually is. Thibs is the best coach in the game and it’s not even close. He gets more done with less than any other coach in the game and that’s something that Phil and his gift wrapped rosters cannot teach. If there is any truth to this at all PJ should be overnighting his championship rings to Chicago on James Dolan’s private jets with Melo on his knees saying “PLEASE TEACH ME DEFENSE”

  11. SBoy - May 24, 2014 at 8:13 PM

    This would be awesome if it happened… Between PJ and Thibs, you could say what you want about Dolan, but the Knicks would be back on the map, with credibility… Free agents would definitely be interested in NY…

    Now back to reality… It ain’t happening. Don’t think NY has can trade of have a 1st round pick until 2018 to offer as compensation…

  12. mcjon22 - May 24, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    As a Bulls fan, my only question after reading this article is this;

    Mr. Reinsdorf, why hasn’t Gar Forman been fired yet?

    • chicagofan4ever - May 24, 2014 at 9:20 PM

      Agreed, he acts like Thibs is the problem when he screwed up giving Boozer that big contract in the first place. If they hadn’t done that we could have had the money to keep Deng, a complete player !

  13. jolink653 - May 24, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    Make it happen, Phil!

    Nahh, haha I would love this move and I think PJ would do it if he could, but the Knicks have nothing to offer trade-wise. Maybe somewhere down the road when Thibs’s deal is up

  14. chicagosports2014 - May 24, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    I don’t believe this, jus like all the other rumors connected to the Bulls I believe it when I see it. BUT if it is true, I rather have a coach that think Chicago is his dream job.

  15. rodyaugu - May 24, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    There must be something going down in NY. Why would Thibs would even consider NY.

    • jimeejohnson - May 25, 2014 at 1:52 AM

      Maybe he likes feces. New Yawk’s the sphincter of the Universe.

  16. 00maltliquor - May 25, 2014 at 3:21 AM

    …and adding the former MVP to a team already loaded with talent like Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler…

    LOL that was a good one. I love ALL those players and think the world of Noah, but that’s not exactly “loaded talent” lol

  17. kingofharvey - May 25, 2014 at 8:59 AM


  18. kingofharvey - May 25, 2014 at 8:59 AM


  19. kingofharvey - May 25, 2014 at 8:59 AM


  20. cueghost - May 25, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    I can’t even describe how awesome that would be to have this guy coach the KNICKS!! But, of course, that just means it won’t happen… I was excited about Phil at first, but, I’m starting to wonder. I’d like to see him AT LEAST sniff around a little on this. There’s got to be somebody they could offer – send them Shumpert! You’d have Bulls’ free agents coming to NY left and right once you have Thibs…

  21. spliff219 - May 25, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    just stop it allready. I got news for for Knicks, Lakers fans. Thibs isnt going anywhere

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