Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, and the rest of the Chicago Bulls took a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Semi-Final matchup in Cleveland against the short-handed Cavaliers on Monday night. But the bigger story for non-Bulls fans is that of head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski is in Cleveland and posted a very curious story on one of the bizarre managements vs coach stories in the league. Here's a snippet:
For everything Chicago management does to undermine the coach, this Bulls locker room has remained something rare in professional sports: unaffected and unrelenting.
"Ahhhh, that's all noise," Thibodeau told Yahoo Sports. He won't do it. He won't think about endings on Monday night, when this feels so much like a beginning for these Bulls.
"I want them to be mentally tough," Thibodeau said. "In this league, it's so easy to get sidetracked. There's so much noise. Trades. Free agency. This. That. Whatever. To me, none of that is important. All that matters is what we think. Are we doing the right things every day? Are we putting the proper work in? Are we playing the right way? Practicing the right way? That's how you play well in this league. All that other stuff is just noise, it doesn't mean anything."
It definitely sounds like the last stand for Thibs in Chicago. But what if the Bulls win the title? It's a bizarre story. In Woj's piece he mentions the possibility that the Orlando Magic are putting their coaching search on hold in case Thibs gets the axe after the Bulls season ends. What about the Nuggets?
Well, Thibs' style doesn't really seem to match where the Nuggets want to go. Denver GM Tim Connelly has spoke about wanting the team to play fast and take advantage of the altitude in Colorado. Could Thibs adapt to a different offensive style? What about the big minutes Thibs likes his rotation to play? The biggest indicator that Denver isn't looking at Thibs is Woj not mentioning the Nuggets waiting for him.
The Nuggets coaching search has been quiet, but don't fear the lack of news and rumors. Denver's coaching decision is a big one, and there shouldn't be a timetable at this point of the offseason. There are quality candidates still coaching in the playoffs and something unexpected could happen after it's all said and done.
Woj previously released a list of names that Denver expects to talk with about their coaching vacancy, including: Melvin Hunt, Michael Malone (former the Kings coach), Mike D'Antoni, Scott Skiles, Alvin Gentry (Warriors assistant), David Vanterpool (Blazers assistant), Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State head coach), Scott Brooks (former Thunder coach), and other assistants.