On Friday morning, former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau joined ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike (audio link) to discuss the NBA Finals as well as his exit from Chicago. Thibs was largely diplomatic, but he did take a small dig at the team in what might be a slam of the Luol Deng trade.
“When you lose a guy like a Derrick Rose and maybe you trade someone, and now all of a sudden you have to ask yourself, ‘How are we going to win with this group?’ Maybe that alters things,” Thibodeau said (transcription via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune). “I learned how you have to do that with this team. Whatever the next opportunity is, I’ll take those lessons and try to use them.”
Here’s a look at a few of the other highlights from Thibodeau’s chat with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic..
On reported issues between him and management:
Obviously, there were some issues. I don’t want to get into all that. As I said, I’m very proud of what the team did. When I look back, it’s five years, I think anytime when you have a pro franchise, there’s going to be some carping that goes on along the way. When I look back, I’d rather focus in on the positives. It was a great experience for me. I loved our players. I loved my staff.
On his reaction to scathing comments by Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf:
I don’t worry about stuff like that..For me, I put everything that I have into each day. So I have no regrets. I’m going to let the record speak for itself.
On whether his rift with management affected the team’s on-court performance:
I would like to think it didn’t have any [effect]. If you allow yourself to be distracted, you’re going to be distracted by other things as well. As players and coaches, you’re going to hear things all the time whether it’s trades or being fired or whatever it might be. I think the important thing is to lock into what you have to do each day, put everything you have into it and then you let the results speak for themselves.
On whether he’ll change his coaching style going forward:
You go back through the season and evaluate everything that was done. I don’t think you ever want to stay the same. You’re always looking at how you can do things better. There are some things you may not change but you always want to add, evolve. I think the big thing is to study and prepare and try to do it better the next time. There’s a lot of things that I learned from the experience. I learned from all my experiences.