Perhaps partly because his name is no longer mentioned in connection with New York, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was effusive in his praise of Chicago predecessor Phil Jackson’s recent appointment as Knicks team president, which is scheduled to be announced Tuesday.
[Thibodeau: Butler deserves All-Defensive Team consideration]
“Great. His record speaks for itself. I think it’s good for the game, good for the league. Happy for him. I think probably the year off was good in terms of getting his health together. I know he’s been active in the offseason like with clinics and stuff like that. You can’t be around the game as long as he’s been around the game and all the things that he’s done and not miss it. I think this is the next challenge for him. There is some irony to it where it’s New York, which is where he played. It’s good,” Thibodeau said after the Bulls’ shootaround Monday morning at the United Center.
“You have a guy like Phil, he has a lot to share for everybody. For the league, it’s good. Obviously for New York it’s good. For the players, it’s good. For the coaches; he has done a lot for coaching. I don’t see any negatives to it.”
Jackson, the 11-time championship-winning former Bulls and Lakers head coach, is expected to put his stamp on the Knicks, the team he was on during his NBA career as a role player, by installing someone familiar with his famed triangle offense — such as current television analyst Steve Kerr — as head coach next season to replace Mike Woodson. Kerr played for the Bulls during the second three-peat of Jackson’s tenure and while he doesn’t have any head-coaching experience, he was briefly the general manager of the Phoenix Suns.
But Jackson’s first order of business will presumably be to either convince Knicks’ All-Star Carmelo Anthony to stay in New York as a free agent or come up with another rebuilding plan. For his part, Thibodeau said he can’t envision a day he moves from the sidelines to a team’s front office.
“I prefer not to look at it like that,” the coach quipped. “That day eventually comes.”