Tom Thibodeau contract talks: Different takes on the Bulls history versus coaches

Trying to assuage Bulls fans fears about Derrick Rose's injury (to moderate success) was the lead story in Gar Forman's rare public appearance. The Bulls GM also addressed Tom Thibodeau's contract status, which I put in a pot-shot at Gar's self-congratulatory remark over the teams 'unprecedented' early negotiations last fall, but not much more.

Kelly Dwyer at Yahoo! goes in much harder, saying it's already past time for Thibs to get paid in this blessedly second-straight day of Bulls posts from KD:

There was a lockout in 2011, you'll recall, and teams were not allowed to negotiate or even talk to NBA players between July and mid-December. Teams were more than allowed to talk with coaches, though, and the idea that the Bulls waited until "fall" to discuss a different contract and/or extension with Thibodeau falls right in line with what we've known about the Chicago Bulls for nearly two decades.

The team is cheap, in all the wrong places. It might throw lifetime contracts and gifts aplenty at certain employees, but Jerry Reinsdorf continues to harbor some weird obsession with keeping his coaches in line. And, once he does pay the going rate for a coach (like when he took great pains to point out that Phil Jackson was the highest paid non-GM'ing coach in the NBA, following 1997's contentious offseason), Reinsdorf will take to the media with smarm and sass, complaining about the price of business. Remember, this is a guy who still hates to deal with coaches that have agents. Because NBA head coaches shouldn't have legal representation in negotiations, apparently.

I've never expected Thibs to get an extension mid-season, but perhaps that's my indoctrination to the Bulls way more than anything. Dwyer expects more (there's the profits/luxurytax argument in there too, a frequent talking point of this blog) and maybe we should too.

Or look to Sam Smith, Bulls.com employee, who has a slightly different take:

[The Bulls are] Perhaps too fair in some cases, as when Vinny Del Negro asked for a two-year contract, Reinsdorf offered three. And when Scott Skiles was fired, he had an offset in his contract. That meant if he took another job, which he did in Milwaukee, he'd have to pay back the Bulls. The Bulls waived the offset so Skiles could collect his full salary from the Bucks, which is rarely done in the NBA. Plus, Phil Jackson worked off a series of contacts with the Bulls and Reinsdorf paid Tim Floyd his entire contract, more than two more years, even after he resigned.

(you try and figure out some of that)

Sam then tries to compare Thibs to Rick Carlisle's similar contract status in Dallas, failing to mention that Carlisle is one of the higher-paid coaches in the league, and priced himself (and his super-assistants) out of the Bulls search. Then again, Sam doesn't think Thibs cares about money, so maybe that detail didn't seem relevant.

Remember, it's 'unprecedented' for a first-time (and cheap) coach to have as much success as Thibodeau has, too. Maybe the Bulls should've bent their rules a bit to accommodate that.

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