Tom Thibodeau knows the city. He knows the Knicks organization. And he likes the makeup of their team.
But the Chicago Bulls coach doesn't think much about recent speculation that he could end up being head coach of the Knicks in the not-to-distant future.
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"No comment on any of that stuff," Thibodeau said Wednesday night before his Bulls lost to the Knicks, 83-78, at the Garden. "Mike's a hell of a coach. I have a great job. And I love my team."
Mike, of course, is Mike Woodson, who repeatedly has had to answer questions about his job security as his injury-riddled Knicks are off to one of the worst starts in team history. Calls for Woodson's head hit a fevered pitch entering Wednesday night as the Knicks had lost 11 of their last 13 and were coming off a 15-point loss to Cleveland on Tuesday.
Thibodeau, who spent seven years on the Knicks staff under first Jeff Van Gundy and then Don Chaney, has two more seasons left on his contract with the Bulls. Yet, there have been repeated reports of friction between Thibodeau and Bulls general manager Gar Forman. With the Bulls struggling this season after so many injuries, it's not impossible to imagine that an early departure could be worked out.
Thibodeau is one of the most respected coaches in the league and likely would have his pick of jobs if he and the Bulls did part ways. Though he had a lot of good things to say about the talent on the Knicks before Wednesday night's game, he said the only team he thinks about coaching is the one he is on.
"Usually, a lot of the stuff that is thrown out there is B.S.," he said. "If you pay attention, that's not good. It takes away from what's important is our improvement and getting ready for the next game."
Getting this particular Bulls team ready for any team, even the struggling Knicks, cannot be an easy task. No one has been hit harder by injuries this season than the Bulls, who Wednesday night played without three of their starters: Derrick Rose (knee), Luol Deng (Achilles) and Jimmy Butler (turf toe).
Although Deng and Butler will be back shortly, many observers in Chicago think that the team just hasn't gotten over losing Rose again for an entire season. Since Rose's injury, the team is 2-8 after Wednesday night's defeat. Still, Thibodeau thinks the team can right itself.
"We're not going to react to the stuff on the outside," he said. "We have a challenge in front of us that we're looking forward to. I have a great group of guys who I work with. So, we're trying to find the answers and we look forward to this. This is a great opportunity for all of us. That's all we're thinking about. All that other stuff is nonsense."