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Thibs isn't worried about Knicks, just Bulls

12/11/2013

NEW YORK -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau rarely wants to talk about the past and never wants to discuss the future.

So it should come as no surprise that the veteran coach didn't want to discuss Marc Stein's story that Thibodeau could become a possible target for the New York Knicks at season’s end if they decide to fire Mike Woodson.

"I have no comment on any of that stuff," Thibodeau said before Wednesday's game against the Knicks. "Mike's a hell of a coach. I've got a great job. I love my team."

Thibodeau wants only to focus on the task at hand. That's what he tells his players when their names pop up in trade talks and that's the message he wants to impart when he sees his name pop up in reports.

"I don't pay any attention to that stuff," he said. "To me, the only thing I have to do is concentrate on our team, our next opponent, our improvement, and never get away from that. There's a lot of stuff that gets thrown out there that's just B.S. So if you pay any attention it does no good. It takes you away from what's important and what's important right now is our improvement and getting ready for the next game."

Thibodeau was asked whether the perceived rift between him and the front office that comes up in conversations bothers him. (Thibodeau, Bulls GM Gar Forman and executive VP John Paxson have said publicly that the trio has a solid working relationship.)

"No, because I deal with those guys every day," Thibodeau said. "It's what we think and it's what we know. So we're not going to react to the stuff on the outside. We got a challenge in front of us that we're looking forward to. Like I said, I've got a great group of guys that I work with every day. So we're trying to find the answers. We look forward to this. This is a great opportunity for all of us. And that's all we're thinking about. So all that other stuff is nonsense."

Thibodeau is trying to get his beleaguered team over the emotional hurdle of losing Derrick Rose for the second consecutive season; it’s been an understandably difficult task. The Bulls came into Wednesday's game with an 8-11 record, but Thibodeau is trying to get his players to view the rest of this season as a new challenge.

"Each year has been totally different," Thibodeau said. "The first year Carlos [Boozer] was out for a significant amount of time and then [Joakim Noah] was out for three months and we were able to overcome that. The second year Derrick missed half that season so we were able to overcome that. Last year Derrick missed the entire season. We had a lot of guys step up and do a great job.

"So this year we've been hit with a lot of injuries. It's early in the season and we have to take this challenge and we need everyone putting everything they have into it. And I believe we'll be successful."