Tom Thibodeau said no thanks to the Hornets on Thursday, and now we know why: the defensive guru has accepted to job to become the new head coach of the Bulls, according to the Chicago Tribune.
While no official announcement can be made until the NBA Finals, the Tribune's report cites "sources" saying Thibodeau will indeed become the franchise's 18th head coach, agreeing to three-year offer. Although New Orleans showed genuine interest, it was believed that Chicago was his number one choice all along.
Sam Smith, who is employed by the Bulls, recently posted at Chicago Bulls Blog a report with the same news:
But reliable sources close to Thibodeau confirmed that Thibodeau received the three-year offer worth some $6.5 million late Friday and agreed early Saturday.
Sources also said Thibodeau is trying to persuade Oklahoma City Thunder assistants Mo Cheeks and Ron Adams to join his staff in Chicago with holdover Pete Myers.
Thibodeau also is not expected to comment until the Finals conclude and under rules of the Celtics assistant coaches cannot do interviews with the media.
It didn't take long for Thibodeau to make his decision -- news of the Bulls making an official offer broke just hours earlier.
Early reaction is already in from CelticsBlog, and while they will be sad to some of his expertise leave the team, they're happy for him, because really, it was a long time coming.
Good for Tom. I'm happy for him. I'll miss him, but in truth he probably should have gotten a job years ago. We've been lucky to have him this long. Here's hoping he can finish off his tenure in Boston on a high note.
Chicago should be a good fit for him too. He'll have an already talented squad with the potential to play good defense. Deng can be a poor man's Pierce and Noah can be a very poor man's Garnett. And of course Derrick Rose is going to be a rival of Rondo's for quite some time. We'll see which free agent they can add too. My initial guess is Joe Johnson, but we'll see.
Thibodeau has been an assistant in the NBA since 1989, coaching for the Timberwolves, Sonics (as an advance scout), Spurs, Sixers, Knicks and Rockets before joining Boston prior to the 2007-08 season. His specialty is defense -- Thibodeau-coached teams have finished in the top-10 defensively 15 times.