New Orleans’ interest in Tom Thibodeau has caused the Bulls to step up plans to interview the Boston assistant. They are hoping to meet with Thibodeau when the Celtics-Magic playoff series ends, if not sooner.
Some league sources suggest Thibodeau has become the frontrunner for the Bulls job. Ex-Portland and Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks remains a strong candidate, while former Nets coach Lawrence Frank has slipped. The Bulls held informal talks with both Cheeks and Franks this week during the Chicago predraft camp.
If any coach is going to get LeBron James’ attention, it might be Thibodeau. He designed the defense that helped Boston eliminate the Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs. The Bulls think they have a chance to sign the two-time MVP as a free agent this summer.
Thibodeau joined the Celtics in 2007-08, the year they won the NBA title. Boston currently holds a surprising 3-0 lead over Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals.
An NBA assistant for 18 seasons, Thibodeau worked under Jeff Van Gundy in both New York and Houston. He has also held jobs in Minnesota, Seattle, San Antonio and Philadelphia.
Those who know him well say Thibodeau has been anxious for a chance at a head job in the NBA. He's known as a tireless worker who can draw up strategies as well as anyone. He's also been popular with the Celtics players.
His only head coaching experience was one season at Salem State in Massachusetts, his alma mater.