For the doomsday prophets who made a big fuss about probable turmoil in the Bulls’ coaching camp, Derrick Rose has personally reassured fans that there is no way Coach Thibs was leaving. The partnership between the superstar and the coach can make or break a championship contender. The list of tragic fallouts is a long one. Most recent example is CP3 and Vinny Del Negro. It won’t be the last on the list.
Rest well, Bulls faithful. Rose reiterates that Chicago will not be on that list.
There’s a common scene after most Bulls practices. It involves coach Tom Thibodeau having a long talk with Derrick Rose or overseeing a lengthy film session with the team’s lone superstar.
The symbolism can’t be ignored in light of recent events, which included the team’s website posting an interview with Rose on Wednesday. Rose’s remarks were his first since early May during the Bulls’ playoff series against the Heat, and one in particular resonated.
“With Thibs, we’re super cool,” Rose told Bulls.com. “We talk at least a couple times through the week. I missed his call a couple times. He hates when I do that. (laughs) He’s someone who loves the game as much as me. And that’s pretty hard. You love basketball more than I do, I have to take my hat off to you.”
Plenty of speculation has swirled about Thibodeau’s future since the Tribune reported Saturday that general manager Gar Forman didn’t renew lead assistant coach Ron Adams’ contract. The decision, which sources said was tied to Adams’ complaining about personnel matters, lifted the curtain on the deteriorating relationship between Forman and Thibodeau, who hired Adams.
Jerry Krause and Phil Jackson proved you can achieve despite acrimony, but there’s a deeper reason to believe Thibodeau will finish his four-year extension, no matter how heavy-handed a power play Forman attempted by removing Thibodeau’s top assistant. It’s called Rose.
It seems fitting Thibodeau’s deal runs concurrent in length to Rose’s five-year extension that began last season. Their relationship is strong and growing stronger. Thibodeau spent time with Rose and his inner circle off the court during the Bulls’ trip to Los Angeles in March.
They are not unified against management in a reprise of the Jackson and Michael Jordan dynamic – at least not yet. In fact, both pride themselves on touting the company line and presenting a unified front. Rose even said he talked to the team website “because it’s more like family.”
But the partnership has emboldened both. And it will be intriguing to monitor how long the company line is followed in light of growing frustration.
Rose was close with Adams. And sources said the Bulls continue to rebuff attempts by the shared agency of Rose and LaMarcus Aldridge to bring the Trail Blazers’ All-Star forward to Chicago. Sources said the Bulls have been unwilling to discuss a deal of Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler for Aldridge.
Thibodeau has been around the NBA long enough to know stars can hold organizational sway. Aligning himself closely with Rose isn’t just a byproduct of their shared obsessive pursuit of perfection. It’s a smart business move.
Management wants to win championships as much as Rose and Thibodeau do. It’s at least one thing all parties agree upon, and doing so would ensure the partnership would continue working in Chicago past the expiration of their current deals.
Here are other pertinent comments Rose, who is beginning a shoe promotional tour in Europe, gave to Bulls.com:
On missing the entire 2012-13 season: “It was hard, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through in my life. When you have an injury like this, there are stages you have to go through. I’m still going through my stages. I’m not done yet. This is the most I ever worked on my craft and most focused I’ve ever been in my NBA career.”
On the injury itself: “I’m not a selfish guy at all. But having this injury and knowing what I had to go through and being smart, this is something I had to be selfish with. I couldn’t worry about anyone else but myself and my health.”
On criticism that, because he dominated practices, he should have played in games: “When you’re in practice, of course it’s not game-like speed unless it’s like training camp. Game-like experience is totally different. You have strategies. You have double teams. When I play, I get double-teamed a lot. (In practice) we play the same defense we play in the game, so there weren’t any double teams. I was able to roam around freely.”
On his teammates’ support: “They saw how hard I was working in practice just trying to rebuild my leg. All my teammates that were going through their injuries used to tell me don’t rush back just because they were going through stuff.”
On why he gave such infrequent interviews: “I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to rebuild my leg and be around my son. That was the time where me having a son is huge for me. My father wasn’t ever in my life, so he’s first now and with anything.”