<
>

Thibodeau smirks over idea of rift

Tom Thibodeau brushed aside a report that management is interfering with his coaching. Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau took a few seconds Monday to shoot down the latest report that a rift between him and the front office is widening.

On the New York Daily News website Saturday, a report said that “the Bulls’ front office has been taking an active role in telling Thibodeau how he’ll dispense minutes.”

The mere mention of the report brought a smirk from Thibodeau.

“I don’t know where you guys get that stuff,” Thibodeau said. “Everything is fine. I have no comment on any of that stuff.”

Concern over how Thibodeau hands out minutes is hardly a new concept. Luol Deng led the league last season with 38.7 minutes played, while Joakim Noah was tied for 15th with 36.8 minutes.

While minutes are slightly down this year after just three games, four starters are still over 32 minutes, including Jimmy Butler, who has logged a team-leading 36.7 minutes. Derrick Rose, in his return after a year off because of knee surgery, has averaged a hefty 33.7 minutes. The New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony leads the league with 41.3 minutes after his team’s first three games.

If the Bulls’ front office is asking for less minutes, Thibodeau has barely complied.