DEERFIELD – If Tom Thibodeau had it his way, he would remain the Bulls’ coach forever.
He took a step toward his forever Monday when general manager Gar Forman announced the Bulls reached a four-year contract extension with Thibodeau through the 2016-17 season.
Thibodeau was entering the final year of his initial three-year deal. Forman lauded Thibodeau’s attention to detail on a daily basis and holding players accountable.
“He’s obviously one of the top coaches in the NBA, of course I’m biased,” Forman said. “I get to watch him each and every day. I think he’s the best coach in the NBA, and we’re thrilled to have Tom agree to an extension and be the head coach of our team for a long, long time.”
Thibodeau thanked the organization, players and fans for their continued support and said he’s excited for the future.
“I never doubted that it would work out,” Thibodeau said. “This is where I wanted to be. … I’m glad we got the contract part done and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
The Bulls have thrived under Thibodeau’s tutelage. Since Thibodeau took over in 2010, he owns the highest winning percentage in NBA history by a head coach, leading the Bulls to a 112-36 regular-season record.
Deng’s wrist OK: Luol Deng made it two questions into his Bulls media day news conference before his least favorite topic was broached.
How’s the wrist?
“The wrist is the wrist,” Deng said. “It is what it is. I expect to be asked about it all year, but I just got to go out and play, play as hard as I can and do what I can do whether it’s one arm or two arms or no arms. I’m going to be the best I can be.”
Surgery still might be an option down the road for Deng, who initially tore a ligament in his left wrist in January. He bypassed surgery once he decided to play for Great Britain in the Olympics. It was an experience he didn’t want to miss and appreciated his chance to thank England for granting his family political asylum from Sudan 20 years ago. Deng’s desire to avoid missing any games was almost as strong a pull.
“If it was the same as last year, I would have went ahead and did the surgery,” Deng said. “It just kept improving. During the Olympics it was a lot better than it was at the end of the year. The strength of it has definitely increased and I can do a lot more things now than I was able to do.
“I’m at the time of my career that I don’t want to miss any games. I’m enjoying it. I love playing here.”
Hinrich’s return: Derrick Rose never recruited any free agent to play for the Bulls – until Kirk Hinrich in the offseason.
Choosing the Bulls wasn’t a tough choice for Hinrich, who signed a two-year contract. He spent seven years in Chicago (2003-10) and appeared in 514 games after the Bulls drafted him seventh overall in 2003.
“I think the fact he played here before is helpful,” Thibodeau said. “He has the ability to play both guard spots. He’s played with Derrick before and he’s played with Luol and Joakim [Noah] so I think that’s an advantage. We know that he and Derrick play well together.”
Hinrich is tabbed as the veteran to fill Rose’s spot until he returns from his torn ACL. While the 31-year-old has endured numerous injuries the past three seasons, he said he’s prepared to step in and help out any way he can.
“I don’t really feel much pressure,” Hinrich said. “I feel like this is a good fit for me. The team, the way they play, the things they emphasize. From being on the outside and looking in, I admired the way the team played.”