The Knicks might attempt to pry Tom Thibodeau out of his contract from the Bulls, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who gets the sense that current Knicks head coach Mike Woodson will only last until owner James Dolan can find a splashy replacement. Soon-to-be free agent Carmelo Anthony wouldn’t object to the move, Stein also hears. Thibodeau, like Anthony, is a client of the Creative Artists Agency, a firm with close ties to the Knicks.
Thibodeau has two seasons remaining on his deal with Chicago, but he’s reportedly feuding with Bulls GM Gar Forman. It would nonetheless be hard to convince the Bulls to let him go, Stein writes, but the ESPN scribe figures the Knicks stand a better chance of pulling that off than they do of landing marquee names like John Calipari, Phil Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Stan Van Gundy.
The Knicks are also apparently considering assistant GM Allan Houston as a possible replacement for Woodson. Houston played for the Knicks when Thibodeau was an assistant coach for the team.
Coaching transactions between teams are rare, but the Knicks once received compensation for letting Pat Riley go to the Heat, and this summer’s Doc Rivers swap is the most recent example. The Celtics acquired a 2015 first-round pick in exchange for letting Rivers out of his deal so the Clippers could hire him, but the earliest first-rounder the Knicks can surrender is their 2018 pick. The NBA prohibits teams from exchanging players for coaches, so it would indeed be difficult for the Knicks to bring Thibodeau back to Madison Square Garden.
Derrick Rose was asked to comment on the idea that the Bulls should look to move on without him after his latest injury, and he had this to say: “What do you mean?…You can be a fool if you want to…I know I’m going to be alright…I know I am (going to be the same player). A better player…If anything, this should even me out. When I think about it, the injury, I just turned and this happened, kind of like a freak accident. I put all I had into coming back and if this was to happen 10 more times I’d be able to deal with it” (Sam Smith of Bulls.com).
Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- Earlier today, we made note that Rose wouldn’t rule out a return to the court if he managed to get healthy in time for the postseason. On the other hand, head coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t seem willing to entertain the thought of looking that far ahead: “To me, he’s out for the season…If something changes along the way…We want him to be completely healthy before he moves forward…We can’t worry about whether he may come back. Right now, it’s been determined that he’s out for the season, so that’s the way we’re going to approach it” (Sean Highkin of USA Today).
- In responding to one of his Twitter followers, Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld said that the notion of dealing Larry Sanders for a lottery pick next year would not even be a consideration (Twitter link).
- Keith Pompey of Philly.com talks about how James Anderson has excelled in his reserve role as of late after beginning the season as a starter for the 76ers.
- We’ve relayed quite a bit from the Knicks and Nets this evening, and five ESPN writers decided to chime in on why both teams have been playing poorly, who has the hotter seat between Mike Woodson and Jason Kidd, which team will be worse in April, and which has a rougher future ahead.
- Hawks GM Danny Ferry voiced his support for Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, telling FOX Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico: ”(Brown’s) a relentless worker and a quality, high character person. He is a good teacher and holds players accountable. His will and passion for defense will always give any team a strong chance to be successful. This will have such a strong impact for a team establishing a foundation for years to come.”
- There may have been a chorus of boos for Kidd tonight at the Barclays Center during the pre-game introductions, but the Nets coach gets a vote of confidence from his former teammate J.R. Smith: “Criticism is going to come…He’s a first-year coach and he’s a great basketball mind. Just unfortunately, he’s going through it early. Some coaches have success early, some struggle early. He just happens to be struggling right now…I think he’s the best fit for that job and he knows how to get out of it. He’s got a great core of vets, so he’ll be fine” (Roderick Boone of Newsday).
- The Celtics sit atop the Atlantic Division, but the team isn’t letting their early success get to their head and remains focused on continuing to work hard (Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com).
Second-team All-NBA center Marc Gasol seems destined to miss significant time with injury, but the primary concern around the league seems to be for Derrick Rose, whose worst-case scenario appears more dire than Gasol’s. It’s not another torn ACL as the Bulls feared, but the torn medial meniscus in the former MVP’s knee could have seismic consequences for Rose and his team. Here’s the latest:
- The specter of another lost season for Rose gives Tom Thibodeau less reason to remain as coach of the Bulls and put up with behind-the-scenes discord in Chicago, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Rose is among the players who support Thibodeau in his alleged feud with GM Gar Forman and others in Bulls management, according to Wojnarowski, who adds that the point guard and Luol Deng also harbor some hard feelings for the front office. Thibodeau is a fan of Deng’s, but the team’s braintrust places a higher priority on keeping Jimmy Butler around long-term, Woj says. For the record, Bulls vice president of basketball ops John Paxson denied any turmoil between the coach and management shortly after Wojnarowski wrote about it last month.
- If Rose has the meniscus repaired, he faces about six months of recovery, and while he could opt to remove the meniscus and come back in a matter of days, that could compromise his athleticism for the rest of his career, notes Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Whichever choice he makes, Berger figures the Bulls will release a firm timetable rather than let questions linger about when he’ll return, as they did last season.
- Rose may never again be an MVP-caliber player, but the 25-year-old still has plenty left, opines Ian Thomsen of SI.com. A long absence for Rose would probably knock the Bulls out of title contention, but it wouldn’t keep them from the playoffs, Thomsen adds.
While on “The Waddle and Silvy Show” on ESPN Chicago 1000, Bulls vice president John Paxson described Derrick Rose‘s pre-season performance as “fearless” and doesn’t think that any restrictions will be put on the former MVP: “Unless he would come up with something that would concern us, but we have no concerns right now. You look at his preseason, and I think [coach Thibodeau] has done a really nice job of kind of amping up his minutes. He’s played six games. In reality he is only averaging about 27 minutes a game in this preseason, and he has looked terrific. Right now there is no reason to think that there will be any restrictions, and we’re not anticipating that at all” (hat tip to ESPNChicago.com).
Here are some more rumblings to share out of Chicago tonight:
- Rose’s ability to create for his teammates will lead to plenty of offensive opportunities, especially for teammate Jimmy Butler, who is still looking to find his niche on that end of the floor (K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune).
- In another piece from Johnson, head coach Tom Thibodeau sang Luol Deng‘s praises amidst his noteworthy production so far in the pre-season: “He’s a complete player…He does whatever you ask. He’s very disciplined. He stays in great shape, prepares himself to guard multiple positions, moves without the ball…He does so many things that make your team better that never appear in a box score. He’s a hard guy to measure statistically, even though his statistics are very good. He’s invaluable to us.”
- Johnson also adds that Joakim Noah is still questionable for the team’s regular season opener next week, and that guard Kirk Hinrich has been medically cleared from the concussion he suffered last Friday.
According to Cavs coach Mike Brown, he’d like to keep everyone on the training camp roster. But as Jodie Valade writes in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, cuts are coming and can’t be delayed much longer. The Cavs currently have 20 players and need to get down to the league maximum of 15 before the start of the regular season.
The delay is tied to injuries and the Cavs’ D-League affiliate Canton Charge. Neither Andrew Bynum (knee) or Tyler Zeller (appendectomy) have a set return date, and Jarrett Jack and Carrick Felix are also out. Also, the last three training camp cuts go directly to the Cavs’ Canton team if they haven’t previously played in the D-League, as long as they clear waivers and agree to sign D-League contracts. So, the Cavs are trying to be smart and keep those players around to develop.
Valade notes that forward Henry Sims and guard Matthew Dellavedova are expected to make it through the final cut, though.
Here are some more notes from around the Central division tonight:
- Valade and Mary Schmitt Boyer opine, in a tweet, that Alonzo Gee should be the Cavs‘ starting small forward after outplaying Earl Clark all preseason.
- After scoring 32 points in 32 minutes against the Pacers on Friday night, Bulls players tell Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that Derrick Rose is better than ever.
- Bulls Swingman Jimmy Butler said, “I think [Rose is] all the way back and more.”
- Gravelly-voiced coach Tom Thibodeau is amping up the intensity at Bulls‘ practices writes K.C. Johnson at the Chicago Tribune (subscription only) despite an undefeated record in preseason play so far.
- Thibodeau tells Cowley Bulls rookies Tony Snell and Erik Murphy have “a long way to go,” to crack the rotation.
- Larry Sanders tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Charles F. Gardner that he has “spent a lot of quiet time, meditation, listening to classical music or gospel music…” as well as speaking with God in a effort to calm his emotions. Sanders led the NBA with 5 ejections while helming the defensive paint for the Bucks last season.
A few notes from around the Eastern Conference.
- According to the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan, Bulls general manager Gar Forman insists there’s no friction between Chicago’s front office and head coach, Tom Thibodeau, and that the team is excited about its young core and new starting five.
- Celtics.com’s Mark D’Amico writes that new Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is among a new generation of head coaches who value film study more than ever.
- According to a tweet from the Detroit Free Press reporter Vincent Ellis, the Pistons have yet to decide on a starting shooting guard for opening night, but will likely decide between Chauncey Billups and Rodney Stuckey.
We’ve heard for months about some potential discord between Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and the team’s front office, but Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports went into more detail over the weekend, as our Chuck Myron outlined on Sunday. On the heels of Wojnarowski’s report, vice president of basketball operations John Paxson took exception with the idea that the relationship between Thibodeau and GM Gar Forman was heading toward a boiling point.
“We’re so far past that,” Paxson told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “To continue to try and keep it going, I don’t know what the agenda is…. If you’re really going to say something like that, then go on the record, be a man, put your name out there. Don’t hide behind that stuff. But from our perspective, from our seat, we’re doing great. The relationship is healthy.”
Here’s the rest of the latest out of Chicago:
- While he acknowledged that the Bulls brass hasn’t always been on the same page when it comes to certain decisions, Paxson continued to downplay the idea that there’s any lingering disharmony: “No matter what you do in this business, when you’re making decisions, whether it’s based on personnel or anything like that, you’re going to have ideas, different opinions, and that’s what we do. We sit in a room and talk these things through. The thing is, right now we’re all on the same page, and there are no hidden agendas from Gar, myself and Tom.”
- Within the same piece, Cowley cites a source who says there was some friction when Thibodeau assistant Ron Adams was let go. However, both Thibodeau and Forman “were over it in like a day,” according to the source.
- Before he accepted a camp invite from the Bulls, Dexter Pittman received offers from the Hawks and Spurs, he tells Shams Charania of RealGM.com. Pittman also spoke to Charania about his new offseason workout regime, and how he feels it’ll help his chances of earning a roster spot in Chicago.
- Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com takes a look at veteran guard Mike James‘ quest to land a roster spot with the Bulls.
Last night was a milestone for the Bulls, as Derrick Rose saw his first action since the 2012 playoffs in Chicago's preseason opener against the Pacers. The euphoria of the former MVP's return from injury masks deep divides within the Bulls organization, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reveals. The ability of coach Tom Thibodeau and the front office to work together may hinge on the transcendence of Rose's talent, Wojnarowski argues as he dishes on the instability in Chicago:
- Rose "deeply valued" former assistant coach Ron Adams, Wojnarowski writes. Adams, a close confidant of Thibodeau's who was let go this summer, had clashed with GM Gar Forman. "Ron didn't drink the Kool-Aid there, and this was a message from Gar to Thibs that he's running the show, especially on picking the players," a source said to Wojnarowski.
- Thibodeau waited months to sign his extension because he was worried it would make him further beholden to Forman. One of Wojnarowski's sources described the relationship between Thibodeau and Forman as "toxic."
- Luol Deng is more disappointed than he's letting on about the team's failure to engage in serious negotiations to extend his own contract, according to Wojnarowski, who identifies the small forward as a deadline trade candidate.
The Bulls opened training camp today, and that meant a return to the practice court with a 100 percent healthy Derrick Rose. The Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson relayed quotes from coach Tom Thibodeau, Bulls starters Carlos Boozer and others proclaiming the old Rose's return.
Rose was attacking the basket during scrimmages with a ferocity not seen when he was cleared to play in the spring.
“I got confidence in my (surgically repaired left) knee,” Rose told the Tribune. “There’s no testing anymore. It’s going out there and playing hard and attacking.”
“He attacked all day, in fact from the start,” Thibodeau revealed. “He made that clear.” Boozer added that "Pooh" – Rose's nickname – "had it going. It was like old times."
Rose is doing one thing differently from before tearing his ACL at the start of the 2012 Playoffs.
“I’m really taking stretching serious before and after — when I wake up, before I go to sleep. I just try to get my body as loose as possible because when you have ACL tears, your hamstrings will be the first things that go especially when you’re fatigued. Me building that tolerance up on my leg, I think that will help me in the long run.”
Here's more on Rose's return to practice, Jimmy Butler's excellent showing and divisional rivals, the Bucks…
- The sentiments expressed by the players and coach in the Tribune's piece on the first practice of the 2013/14 season were echoed by Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times. Derrick Rose is back attacking the rim, and despite some hard fouls was fine with the contact.
- Rose also offered some insight into his decision not to come back for the playoffs last season after being cleared to play. "I knew I wasn’t ready to take on a double team in the playoffs, so I had to make the decision not to come back," Rose said.
- Another player who impressed coach Tom Thibodeau at the first day of practice, was 6'7" swingman Jimmy Butler. Thibs told the Tribune's Johnson "[Butler is] an excellent athlete, very explosive, very quick to the ball. That tells you how he sees the game. His reaction to the ball is special. He's very quick, strong, can think ahead, very strong."
- The former Marquette player won the starting shooting guard spot last season with Chicago after some blanket defense on the wing, and improved 3-point shooting.
- The Sun-Times' Cowley also paid deference to Butler saying that – other than Rose – he got the most attention after the first day of practice.
- After the Bucks were again eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last season, GM John Hammond started the offseason ready to make big changes, writes the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Charles F. Gardner.
- After hiring a new coach – Larry Drew, formerly of the Hawks – the Bucks traded their point guard Brandon Jennings to the Pistons and let their other guard Monta Ellis leave for the Mavs. Hammond will see what a fresh start can do after the largest roster overhaul in his five years as GM.
A few notes from around the Central Division.