After a tumultuous end to the 2011-12 NBA season and a lackluster offseason, the Chicago Bulls have finally taken a step in the right direction. The team resumed contract talks with head coach Tom Thibodeau Wednesday, looking to lock the former Coach of the Year up to a long-term deal.
Thibodeau led Chicago to the best record in the NBA in each of his first two seasons as head coach, but fell short of a title in consecutive years. In March of 2012 Thibodeau became the fastest coach to 100 wins in NBA history, accomplishing the feat in only 130 games.
Despite his accolades, the former Boston Celtics assistant came under fire last season in response to several rotational moves, including playing forward Luol Deng extended minutes immediately after returning from injury. Thibodeau was also questioned after putting Joakim Noah back in the game on a severely sprained ankle, as well as following Derrick Rose‘s torn ACL (which occurred late in a game that many felt was out of reach).
The Bulls picked up Thibodeau’s option for the 2012 season, and while the coach has stated to the press that he isn’t concerned about negotiations, this is clearly an issue that could affect the team come the regular season. With Rose sidelined for most-to-all of the 2012-13 season, Thibodeau will need to get every ounce of talent he can out of a roster that suffered a huge overturn in the offseason. The Bulls lost Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson, Kyle Korver, John Lucas III, Mike James and Brian Scalabrine this summer.
Will the Bulls try to lowball the former Coach of the Year? Will they realize what they have and reward Thibodeau for his exceptional coaching? Only time will tell. But at least the organization is moving in the right direction by taking steps towards locking Thibodeau up for the foreseeable future.
Zach Mink covers the Chicago Bulls for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zachmink12 for more news and analysis.