Bulls to pick up Thibodeau's option for next season


Bulls to pick up Thibodeau's option for next season

In the midst of Tuesday's press conference to discuss Derrick Rose's recovery from ACL surgery, Bulls general manager Gar Forman dropped an interesting nugget, not that it escaped notice: Tom Thibodeau's option for next season will be exercised by the team.

However, Forman didn't resolve the ongoing saga of whether the Bulls head coach would receive a contract extension in the near future.

"It hasnt changed since we talked, I think it was a month or two ago," Forman said Tuesday at Rush University Medical Center. "Toms option will be picked up and we started having conversations about an extension with him in the fall, and we hope to continue those discussions now that were in the offseason. We value Tom greatly. We values what he brings to the organization, what hes brought to the team. We think hes one of finest coaches in the league and were hopeful that hell be our coach long-term.

Thibodeau chimed in on the situation: "Im not worried about that. Those things all take care of themselves."

In his first public comments since the Bulls' season ended at the hands of Philadelphia last Thursday, Thibodeau reflected on his team's campaign, which was riddled by injuries and ended in a disappointing first-round playoff exit, though the Bulls again had the league's best regular-season record.

"In the end, there will be one team thats satisfied. As I said at the end of the season, I was disappointed in our loss, but not disappointed in our team. Our team gave everything they had and thats all you can ask of your team, so we fell short and we have to look forward to the challenge next year," he said.

"You dont want to look backwards. You want to obviously learn and move forward. Going into the playoffs, the two things that you have to have is one, you need to be playing well and two, you have to have your health. Those things are critical, so we fell short, but we had a number of guys that were injured and I thought our bench was terrific all year long, and I think we fell short in the end, but overall, I thought our team did fine."

The notoriously hard-charging coach did say that he'll take some time for himself before returning to the grind of preparing for next season, as well as next month's draft and the summer's free agency.

"I will," he admitted. "Right now, I wanted to be around with Derrick going through this and then, Ill take some time and then, decompress for a week or so, and then get back at it."

Jimmy Butler acknowledges 'huge accomplishment' but stays nonchalant about All-Star starter nod

Jimmy Butler acknowledges 'huge accomplishment' but stays nonchalant about All-Star starter nod

ATLANTA — Jimmy Butler insisted being a starter in the All-Star Game means next to nothing, but it seems to go against his never-ending battle for credibility and validation as a legit superstar.

Moments after it was revealed he would be an All-Star starter for the first time and make his third overall trip to All-Star weekend, he sang the same nonchalant tune.

"It hasn't changed at all," Butler said on a conference call Thursday evening. "Obviously, it's a huge accomplishment and honor to be named a starter. But it's All-Star weekend. There are going to be a lot of good players there. I guess it's just another name thrown in with some decent players."

The NBA's format for selecting the All-Star starters changed this season, with fans no longer being the sole group that gets to vote for starters. If it was still a fans-only vote, Philadelphia's Joel Embiid would've started in Butler's place.

But with the new formula that allows the media and the players to take part in the vote, the fan vote accounts for just 50 percent of the formula. So Butler joined Cleveland's LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, Milwaukee's Giannis Antekounmpo and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan in the starting five for the Eastern Conference.

Butler's is averaging 24.8 points with 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists, career-highs across the board, and had he not been selected as a starter, the Bulls' 20-21 record would not have prevented coaches from selecting him as a reserve as they had the last two seasons.

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He won't be joined in the starting lineup by Dwyane Wade, who finished second in backcourt voting behind Irving, but cast his vote for his teammate anyway and hopes Wade will be selected as a reserve.

"Of course. He's been a huge part of what we're doing here, and I think he has played extremely well the first part of the season," Butler said. "He got my vote. I will tell you that."

Golden State's Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant will start for the West, along with Houston's James Harden, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard and New Orleans' Anthony Davis, a Chicago native.

The fun-filled and busy weekend in New Orleans begins Feb. 17, from the league events to the parties to the festivities and then finally the All-Star Game on Sunday night.

Butler likely views it as more of an accomplishment for his team of trainers and confidants then himself.

"It's fun, man. You get to know the other really good players in the league, and you get to know a little bit about them," Butler said. "And the experience that you get to be a part of, whether it be the Jordan party or taking your guys with you everywhere. That's the most fun part for me, my trainers, my brothers, everybody that's behind the scenes helping me gets to experience it too."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bulls build around All-Star Jimmy Butler?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bulls build around All-Star Jimmy Butler?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune) and Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000) join Kap on the panel. Jimmy Butler is an All-Star starter. Is he a superstar now meaning the Bulls have to build around him? The guys pose that question to Bulls great Horace Grant.

The Raiders want to move to Las Vegas. If your NFL team moved, should you keep rooting for them? Plus should the Cubs help Sammy Sosa out as his Hall of Fame chances get smaller?

Check out the SportsTalk Live Podcast below.