Rumors are one of the biggest driving forces in sports. They keep us entertained when the sports stories become monotonous. The rumor that Chicago Bulls‘ head coach Tom Thibodeau has secret agreement to coach the New York Knicks is so entertaining, it’s laughable.
Before we start rolling on the floor chuckling our heads off, let’s take a serious look at some obvious reasons as to why the rumor is unfounded.
Tom Thibodeau is under contract with the Chicago Bulls’ organization. He is actually in the first year of a contract extension that he signed near the end of last season. The contract runs three more years after this season, ending after the 2016-17 season. Thibodeau cannot legally come to any agreement with another team as long as the Bulls are paying him to coach. His agent can always kick the tires of other teams but it is more just to gauge Thibodeau’s worth around the league. Neither party, Thibodeau, his agent or another NBA team can discuss the parameters of a contract while Thibodeau is employed by the Chicago Bulls.
Doing so is tampering which is frowned upon in the Association. There are punishments for tampering. Those punishments include hefty fines and the loss of draft picks.
The word is that New York Knicks owner James Dolan is an “interesting” personality, but even he would balk at the loss of money and draft picks. Mr. Dolan is a business man first and foremost. Losing money via fines is one thing, losing draft picks is bad for business. This is especially since the Knicks are void of young talent and have few resources, i.e. draft picks.
Another reason to dismiss the Tom Thibodeau to the Knicks rumors is the fact that the Chicago Bulls value their head coach.
Thibodeau is without question one of the best at his craft. He can turn a marginal player into a solid NBA contributor. What does the Bulls stand to gain by letting him walk? Even if Thibodeau were to quit – foolish, I know, there are most likely some provisions in place where he cannot negotiate with another team without taking some time off. Given the comparisons to the Bulls’ head coaching job and the Knicks’ post, the Bulls are in a better position going forward.
They have Derrick Rose, who despite the knee injuries in back-to-back seasons, is under contract for the next three seasons. The Knicks don’t know if they will be able to retain their star Carmelo Anthony. They are doomed if Anthony leaves.
Why would Thibodeau want to coach there with that uncertainty?
The Bulls’ front office and Thibodeau haven’t been on the same page when it comes to some of their recent moves. Thibodeau wasn’t a fan of the decision not to keep assistant coach Ron Adams. He also wasn’t a fan of the Luol Deng trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers
Neither decision is one that should keep Tom Thibodeau from performing his duties as head coach. He has a proven track record of defying the odds – leading the Bulls to the second around of the playoffs last season is one example. To believe that he is not relishing the challenge to coach this current Bulls team to a playoff, is naive. He would wind up in the position to name his price if the Bulls have a successful postseason run in them.
Tom Thibodeau will be the coach of the Chicago Bulls for the foreseeable future. He has the chance to pull off his best job to date – a successful season despite all the signs suggesting that the Bulls are done. The feat he is attempting to pull off would make him legendary in the Chicago sports scene. That is compensation all by itself.