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updated: 10/1/2012 4:53 PM

Bulls give Thibodeau 4-year extension

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  • Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau received a four-year contract extension Monday.

    Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau received a four-year contract extension Monday.
    Associated Press


This is one way for the Bulls to link with the championship era.

Back then, it was routine for the team to let some drama build, then announce that head coach Phil Jackson had re-signed for another season on the eve of training camp.

There wasn't much drama this time, but general manager Gar Forman did announce a contract extension for coach Tom Thibodeau at Monday's media day.

The new deal is for four years, but doesn't kick in until after this season, so it effectively ties Thibodeau to the Bulls through 2016-17. Reports had the extension worth $17.5 million, with bonuses that could stretch the value to $20 million.

"Obviously, I'm glad we've gotten the contract part done," Thibodeau said at the Berto Center. "I'm looking forward to the challenge ahead. My expectations are always the same, and that's for our players to put everything they have into each and every day, to strive for improvement and play our best basketball at the end of the season."

Other than winning a championship, it would be tough to improve on Thibodeau's performance. In two years on the job, the Bulls have finished with the NBA's best record both times. He won 100 games faster than any coach in NBA history, and directed the Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals in 2011.

"I'm biased, because I'm here every day, but I think he's the best coach in the NBA," Forman said. "The attention to detail on a daily basis is incredible, then holding guys accountable to what he wants done."

Going back to late last season, there were concerns expressed about why the Bulls hadn't yet agreed to a new contract with Thibodeau. But chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has a history of not rushing into new deals with coaches, which also came into play with Scott Skiles.

The aim is usually to pay market value and the Bulls seem to have hit that and then some, since Oklahoma City re-signed coach Scott Brooks for four years in the spring, reportedly worth between $16 and $18 million.

"I love being here. I never doubted it would work out," Thibodeau said. "This is where I want to be. Jerry has been great to me from the day I arrived."

Even though he'll spend the next few months rehabbing his knee, Derrick Rose was happy to hear about the new deal for his head coach.

"I'm just happy that he's my coach for X number of years," Rose said. "He's a guy we need in this organization. He's pushing everyone in the entire organization to want to be better, to push this organization to win a championship."

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