(CBS) Former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is waiting for the “right situation” to return to the NBA coaching ranks, he said on the Bill Simmons Podcast on Monday.
“This year’s been great for me,” Thibodeau said, referencing what he’s called a “sabbatical” from his coaching. “As I said, it’s a much broader view. I’ll wait until the end of the season (to weigh options). I do miss the competition. If the right situation comes along, I’d love to get back into it.”
Largely citing a failure to communicate and breach of trust, the Bulls fired Thibodeau last May after his five successful seasons, which were also marked by friction with the front office, playoff shortcomings and serious injuries to star Derrick Rose. Since then, Thibodeau’s spent time visiting his coaching friends and serving as an ESPN analyst.
Thibodeau departed as the second-winningest coach in Bulls history. He went 255-139 in his five-year tenure, a winning percentage of .647, and led the team to the playoffs every season at the helm.
In his quest to learn more, Thibodeau has visited the Warriors, Jazz, Spurs, Mavericks, Rockets, Clippers, Hornets, Pistons and Celtics since the start of training camp, he said.
The Bulls are in the process of paying out $9 million to Thibodeau for the final two years of his contract that he didn’t get to fulfill, though that amount could be offset if he takes a job with another team.
And make no mistake: The 58-year-old Thibodeau wants to return to coaching, hinting that he’d like to return as soon as next season.
The Suns, Rockets, Nets and Timberwolves will have openings for the 2016-’17, while there’s certain to be movement by other teams as well after season’s end.
After an ugly divorce from the Bulls, what qualities will Thibodeau be looking for in the next team he leads?
“You want to gather the information and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of it and then try to make a good decision where you feel like you’ll be a good fit, where you can be for an extended amount of time,” Thibodeau told Simmons. “The makeup of the roster’s critical. Obviously, you want to have the right type of guys. I’ve been around long enough, I’ve been in just about every situation. I’ve been with young teams. I’ve been with old teams. I’ve been with in-between teams, and I think it’s what you make of it. If there’s a shared vision where you have certain thing you believe in as an organization and a commitment made by everybody where you can go in and try and get the most out of each and every day and hopefully have a chance to build a championship-caliber team, that’s what I’m looking for and I’m hopeful that that’s what will happen.”