Thibodeau to coach Eastern Conference All-Stars

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Thibodeau to coach Eastern Conference All-Stars

With the 121-115 win over the Sacramento Kings, the Bulls (24-7) clinched the best record in the Eastern Conference which earned Coach Tom Thibodeau and his staff the coaching duties for the East in the All-Star Game in Orlando on Feb. 26.

The NBAs reigning Coach of the Year is never one to accept individual accolades without deflecting the attention onto what help garner the recognition.

Its more a testament and a byproduct of what the team has done, said Thibodeau. Anytime when you can participate in something like that, its good. Its an honor and Ill look forward to it.

Thibodeau was only concerned with the teams practice on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for their game against the visiting Boston Celtics on Thursdaybut the players were happy to see him receive the honor.

Thibs is a grinder, Kyle Korver told CSNChicago. He watches so much film, he studies the game so hard. We go through plays that Im not sure the other team knows how to run. I think we run the teams plays better. He has such a passion for the game and hes a stickler to detail. Theres never any grey area. He always knows the answer, right away, to what he wants you to do and thats what you want from your leader.

Its an honor for him, continued Korver. The whole coaching staff works incredibly hard. I dont think Ive ever been around a harder working coach in my life. I dont think theres a coach that gets his team more prepared and goes over more details than we go over every single night. Its a great honor for him and were very happy for him.

The players left in the locker room, still fielding questions from reporters stopped mid-interviews and congratulated Thibodeau as he entered the room and made his way to the training room.

With his hardworking, tough-nosed coaching style, many of the players joked at how he would handle the experience of coaching a meaningless exhibition game were the emphasis on defense is lacking the usual Thibodeau approach along with other concerns.

I just hope they dont have to do defensive slides and closeouts during the All-Star Game but I hope he takes it easy on those guys, said Joakim Noah.

Added Korver: I just hope he doesnt play LuLuol Deng and Derrick Rose 40 minutes

Jimmy Butler trade presents more questions for futures of Nikola Mirotic, Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo

Jimmy Butler trade presents more questions for futures of Nikola Mirotic, Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo

Lauri Markkanenn will be a Chicago Bull once the trade between the Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves is finalized sometime Friday when the trade call is sent to the NBA, as he’s the first domino to fall in what could be an interesting offseason to come.

A stretch-shooting big man from Arizona who shot 42 percent from 3 last season, Markkanenn is a native of Finland who’s more of an offensive threat rather than a defender and rebounder at seven-feet tall. He averaged 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds for Arizona and has been regarded by many scouts as the best shooter in the draft.

With the Bulls bringing up the rear in that category, one assumes he’ll add a level of versatility if he can see the floor—which brings the Bulls to some offseason decisions they’ll have to make once free agency begins and even before. Markkanenn conceivably brings Nikola Mirotic’s future into question, as Mirotic is a restricted free agent this summer and Mirotic was on the trade block by the Bulls for the better part of last season as he had an underwhelming year trying to fill the role of a stretch-shooting big man.

But officials with the Bulls say Mirotic is still a priority for the Bulls and because he’s restricted, they control the process of his free agency. Mirotic shot 41.3 percent and averaged 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds, as the Bulls still consider him an asset for the present and future as they’ll play a new style of basketball next season.

One would think Mirotic will command a salary at least around $10 million as the NBA’s salary cap will balloon to $99 million with a luxury tax line of around $119 million.

Rajon Rondo’s future has yet to be decided, as the Bulls acquired a point guard in Kris Dunn they’ve long eyed and presumably one they feel will be their future at the position.

Bulls officials stated they’ll wait until next week before making a decision on Rondo, but one wonders if they’ll go full youth movement, especially with wanting Dunn to succeed after a rocky rookie year in Minnesota and already having Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne under contract for next season.

Rondo has a $3 million buyout the Bulls can exercise that will make Rondo a free agent or they’ll pay Rondo $13.3 million next season.

[MORE: After trading Jimmy Butler, Bulls select Lauri Markkanen] 

And then there’s Dwyane Wade, who opted in to his deal of $23.8 million for next season. Wade came to Chicago for a number of reasons, notably the salary and chance to play with Butler. With Butler gone and the Bulls changing their direction of the franchise, one wonders how Wade sees himself next season and how the Bulls see Wade with their young players.

Unless Wade wants out, the Bulls are headed into the free agency period thinking he’ll be back next season, and considering the Bulls have to spend up to 90 percent of their salary cap, his money helps them keep their books afloat, even as Butler’s affordable max salary exits and the controlled rookie-scale salaries of LaVine, Dunn and Merkkanenn enter Chicago for a future unknown

National media reacts to Jimmy Butler blockbuster deal

National media reacts to Jimmy Butler blockbuster deal

If you watched the first round of the NBA Draft, you probably noticed ESPN's Jalen Rose shouting "Fleeced!" at every mention of the Jimmy Butler deal. 

The Bulls sent the three-time All-Star and No. 16 overall selection (Justin Patton) to Tom Thibodeau's Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 7 pick (Lauri Markkanen), Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn. 

While Rose clearly thinks GarPax got swindled, other media members were much more split. 

Bill Simmons, notable Boston homer and Rose's close buddy, took the time to apologize to Bulls fans. 

On the other hand, ESPN's Bomani Jones believes it's a win-win. 

Skip Bayless - yes, we regretably included Skip Bayless - put away his eye-burning hot takes for five seconds to fairly assess how Thibs' T-Wolves will benefit from acquiring a two-way veteran. 

Like other journalists, Zach Lowe questioned why Chicago included their first-round pick and how it factors into re-signing Nikola Mirotic. 

Avid Bulls fan and The Basketball Analogy podcast guest Black Tray left the analysis behind, opting to go straight for the heart. 

 

We'll leave that right there.