(WSCR) The Bulls’ announcement of a four-year contract extension for head coach Tom Thibodeau may have come as a shock to the fans and media, but Thibodeau wasn’t at all surprised the deal got done.
“I was never really worried about it,” Thibodeau told The Boers and Bernstein Show on Monday. “Jerry (Reinsdorf) has been great to me since the first day that I arrived. I always felt confident that it would be worked out. This is where I wanted to be and I knew he wanted me. I feel great about the players we have. It’s a great city. It had all the things I was looking for.”
LISTEN: Tom Thibodeau and Gar Forman on The Boers and Bernstein Show
According to a Yahoo! Sports report, Thibodeau’s new deal is worth a base of $17.5 million, with bonuses that could reach $20 million.
“I think a lot of it has to do with my relationship with Jerry,” the 2011 Coach of the Year said. “He had pretty much assured me after the first year that we were going to work something out. Jerry’s always been a man that keeps his word, so I never worried about it.”
For Thibodeau and the Bulls, the 2012-13 season will be a season of obstacles with super star Derrick Rose sidelined for most of the season as he works to recover from ACL surgery.
“Each and every year, you’re faced with new and different challenges,” Thibodeau said. “This one is going to be a little bit bigger than usual because they’ll be seven new faces, but it’s not something we haven’t done before. Two years ago we were faced with the same thing.”
Still, Thibodeau pointed to his team’s veteran leadership as a bright spot for the Bulls.
“You guys all know him because you’ve seen him for a long time – we are very, very fortunate to have a franchise player like Derrick,” Thibodeau said. “Not only is he a great player, he’s a better person. I know that’s hard to come by in this league. Not only Derrick, but along with the rest of the captains. When you look at Joakim (Noah,) Luol (Deng) and Carlos (Boozer,) you need your best players to help sell your vision to the rest of the team. Those guys, all four, have done that.”
Bulls general manager Gar Forman also joined The Boers and Bernstein Show to discuss the challenges currently facing his team and what the future looks like.
“The core of this team returns,” Forman said. “We’re certainly happy about that. We had to make some changes as far as our bench is concerned. I think we were in a position where we didn’t really want to add long-term contracts or money so that we have some flexibility under the new (CBA) rules in order to continue to add to this team and make improvements.”
“We’ve said in the past when we have a team that’s ready to compete, and Jerry has said this, we’ll be willing to pay the tax in order to put a team together that we feel has a chance to compete for a championship.”