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Is Thibodeau getting minutes direction from front office?

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Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Nugget buried in Mitch Lawrence's weekend column:

Tom Thibodeau is one of the NBA’s top coaches, but when it comes to managing minutes of his top players, he is going to get some help. Even if he doesn’t want it. The Bulls’ front office has been taking an active role in telling Thibodeau how he’ll dispense minutes to Joakim Noah, among others. And these are two parties that have had their differences in the past.

(ht: PBT)


Publicly, however, Forman has maintained that he believes in Thibodeau's ability to 'pace' a team, and by my recollection any mentions of some 'directive' has been shot down by Forman. And you'd think it'd have to be, as a front-office telling a coach how many minutes to play somebody is (especially from the coach's perspective) overstepping into the domain of that coach.

But we're talking about player health and Tom Thibodeau, so this could be special circumstances. I believe Thibsball minutes are worse than regular minutes, and as a reminder: John Paxson choked the last coach who played someone more minutes than 'authorized'. The best outcome is for Thibs to be on board of his own volition with the team's plan to be primed for the playoffs. Having to be 'actively helped' to do so is less than ideal, and probably only worsens their relationship.

Thus far, minutes watch has begun but nothing egregious has occurred yet. Joakim Noah is mentioned, and coming off his preseason groin injury he's played in 20, 36, and 32 minutes for the first 3 games.

(this also is just another reason why it'd be nice for the Bulls to win a bunch of games so it's not an issue. Can they do that with starters getting more limited minutes? hmm. )

As for why Mitch Lawrence has this information, you may remember him from last season's reports of Thibs not signing his contract, and the team not agreeing when Rose would take the court last season. So this should be taken skeptically but not outright dismissed.