By Mike McGraw
The team concept for the Bulls extends to the sidelines this season.
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One of the more significant moves of the summer was management's decision not to bring back assistant coach Ron Adams. Tom Thibodeau and Adams have been friends for roughly 20 years, since they first worked together in San Antonio under Jerry Tarkanian.
The Bulls didn't hire anyone to fill Adams' spot. So they're preparing for the new season with four assistant coaches instead of five, which doesn't sound too difficult.
"I've been very fortunate to have a great staff," Thibodeau said Sunday at the Berto Center. "These guys have done a good job for a long time. They all have a little more responsibility, so it's good."
The remaining assistants are Andy Greer, Adrian Griffin, Ed Pinckney and Mike Wilhelm. All have been on the staff since Thibodeau became head coach in 2010, while Wilhelm goes back to the Bill Cartwright era.
Griffin and Pinckney interviewed for the head-coaching vacancy in Philadelphia this summer, while Griffin also reportedly interviewed in Detroit.
"To me, they're all great teachers and great coaches," Thibodeau said. "And they're a good fit. I think the fact that we're going into Year No. 4 … I think they're ready for more responsibility and they've gotten it. I feel very strongly about how good our staff is."
It's relatively old news now, but Thibodeau was not in favor of Adams leaving, according to a source, when the decision was made in June.
At the same time, Thibodeau always preaches focusing on the task at hand and playing unselfishly. So when asked what it has been like not to have Adams around, Thibodeau followed his own advice.
"I'm not going to rehash that other than saying Ron is a great friend, a great coach," Thibodeau said. "I was obviously pleased that he was able to land in Boston. He'll be a great asset to Brad (Stevens)."
Adams is now lead assistant for the Celtics, and he will help mentor an NBA newcomer in former Butler coach Stevens. In between his two stints with the Bulls, Adams had a similar role in Oklahoma City with Scott Brooks.
"That's sort of who he is and it's not just the head coach. I thought Ron was great with our staff," Thibodeau said. "He's been around a long time. He's a great teacher and he enjoys doing that (guiding younger coaches)."
When it comes to the task at hand, the Bulls' coaches should have a smooth training camp. They're working Derrick Rose back into the lineup, but nine of the 10 veterans on the roster are holdovers. The only newcomer in that group is Mike Dunleavy.
"We always start from a zero base the next year and build from there," Thibodeau said. "But the fact that these guys have been together for a while is a plus. It allows you to move along, I think, a lot quicker, because they've been through it."