Tom Thibodeau gets extension
The Chicago Bulls and coach Tom Thibodeau agreed on a four-year contract extension, the team announced on Monday.
Isaacson: Smart Money
By handing Tom Thibodeau a big-money extension, there should no longer be any question whether Jerry Reinsdorf believes his coach's value is equal to that of at least the upper-echelon NBA coaches, ESPNChicago.com's Melissa Isaacson writes. Column
The deal is "very close" to the reported $18 million deal Scott Brooks signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder over the summer, a source familiar with the situation told ESPNChicago.com's Melissa Isaacson. The four years are on top of the option year the Bulls picked up on Thibodeau for the 2012-13 season.
"Obviously, I'm very excited to be here and very thankful to (owner) Jerry (Reinsdorf) and to (executive vice president) John (Paxson) and (general manager) Gar (Forman) and certainly all our players and our fans," Thibodeau said on Monday during the team's media day. "I love being here, I never doubted it would work out. This is where I want to be. Jerry has been great to me from the day I arrived."
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.
Forman repeatedly stated that it was the organization's intention to lock up Thibodeau for the long term, even though talks stalled earlier in the summer. But a source told ESPNChicago.com that talks resumed in early September.
Carmen, Jurko and Harry Podcast
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau joins Carmen, Jurko & Harry to discuss his contract extension, Derrick Rose and the upcoming season.
Thibodeau said he wasn't worried about a deal getting done after a conversation he had with Reinsdorf last season.
"I knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of when," Thibodeau said on "Carmen, Jurko & Harry" on ESPN 1000. "I felt good about it from the middle of last season. Basically Jerry had called me up and said 'Look, we'll get this done at some point.' He's a man of his word and everything that he has said he has done so I felt good about it."
Bulls star Derrick Rose was happy to hear the news on Monday.
"It's great, man," Rose said. "Just to know that we finally got a deal done, he got his deal done. I don't know if he has been thinking about it. He hasn't said anything (to) me. No one has said anything to me about that but you all. I'm just happy that he's my coach for an x amount of years. He's a guy that we need around this organization, where he's pushing everyone in the entire organization to want to be better and try to push this organization to win a championship."
Thibodeau's Early Success
The Bulls won 112 games in Tom Thibodeau's first-two seasons on the job and his .757 win percentage is the second-best by a coach in his first two seasons.
Best win pct. by coach in 1st 2 NBA seasons (Min. 100 games)
— from Elias Sports Bureau
Thibodeau, who won 100 games faster than any coach in NBA history, was hired two summers ago after serving as an assistant for the Boston Celtics under Doc Rivers. The Bulls have led the league in regular-season wins both years under Thibodeau, who won coach of the year honors in his first season and finished second last season.
"It was certainly our goal for Tom to be the coach of the Buls long term, (and) it was Tom's goal to remain with the Chicago Bulls," Forman said. "He's obviously one of the top coaches in the NBA. Of course, I'm biased. I get to watch him every day. But I think he's the best coach in the NBA."
Thibodeau likely is in for his most challenging season yet in Chicago. Rose will miss much of the season as he recovers from knee surgery, and the Bulls' bench, a major strength last season, has undergone a massive facelift with five new players.
"Obviously I'm glad that we got the contract part done, and I'm looking forward to the challenge ahead," Thibodeau said. "My expectations are always the same and that's for players to put everything they have into each and every play, to strive for improvement and then to play our best basketball the second part of the season.
"I don't know where we're going to end up, but I like the makeup of the new guys, I like the makeup of the guys returning. I don't want us to skip any steps. The important thing is to do right things each and every day and results take care of themselves."
ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell contributed to this report.