The New York Knicks are not going to jump in and hire Tom Thibodeau away from the Bulls.
That idea got some play Wednesday, before the Bulls lost in New York 83-78. It was sold as a rumor in some articles, but it's really just speculation. The Knicks are off to a slow start, which means coach Mike Woodson might be in trouble. Thibodeau has had some disagreements with Bulls management and used to work for the Knicks. Therefore, the Knicks would be interested in hiring Thibodeau.
Of course, reality complicates this scenario. Thibodeau just started a four-year contract extension, so he's not able to change teams at will. Firing the coach does not appear to be a likely move for the Bulls -- although the team's traditional firing day of Dec. 24 is approaching -- so any change of teams while he's under contract would require agreement between two teams and compensation.
Thibodeau grew up in Connecticut, so he might appreciate the idea of returning to New York, in theory. Any coach with options is likely to think twice before joining forces with Knicks owner Jim Dolan. Thibodeau could probably land a good job with fewer headaches if he ever did become a coaching free agent.
"I don't pay any attention to that stuff," Thibodeau said in New York, according to espn.com. "To me, the only thing I have to do is concentrate on our team, our next opponent, our improvement, and never get away from that. There's a lot of stuff that gets thrown out there that's just B.S. ... I've got a great job. I love my team."
Whether friction between Thibodeau and Bulls management could shorten his coaching tenure in Chicago is a better question. When seasons turn sour, things like that can happen. But right now there doesn't seem to be any legitimate discord in the Bulls family.
The coach-front office relationship survived some challenges this summer. The Bulls' management team of John Paxson and Gar Forman declined to renew the contract of assistant coach Ron Adams, one of Thibodeau's closest friends in coaching. Adams is now helping Brad Stevens in Boston.
Paxson and Forman also strongly encouraged Thibodeau to alter his offensive scheme. Eventually, they came to an agreement.
The move with Adams seemed to be more a clash of personalities than disrespect for Thibodeau's coaching hires. Forman and Adams had disagreements, according to a source, going back to when Adams was an assistant to Scott Skiles.
Thibodeau talked about his relationship with Paxson and Forman in New York.
"I deal with those guys every day," Thibodeau said. "We've got a challenge in front of us that we're looking forward to. Like I said, I've got a great group of guys that I work with every day. So we're trying to find the answers. We look forward to this. This is a great opportunity for all of us. And that's all we're thinking about. So all that other stuff is nonsense."
It's an interesting group. When it comes to basketball, Paxson is as smart as any advanced metrics expert. He was also smart enough to realize his short temper created some problems, so he took a step back a few years ago. But he remains involved in key decisions.
Forman has followed an interesting career path. He survived the often shady world of college basketball recruiting, rode his friendship with Tim Floyd to a scouting job with the Bulls, then thrived long after Floyd was replaced as coach.
When it comes to scouting and drafting, Forman's track record has been excellent. There are few examples in NBA history of a team doing better than Taj Gibson, Omer Asik and Jimmy Butler -- three players chosen No. 26 or below -- in a span of four years.
Clearly, Thibodeau and management don't agree on every decision. Paxson had an altercation with Vinny Del Negro over Noah's minutes, so one can only imagine what's being discussed these days.
The Bulls helped create the blueprint for winning championships while the coach and general manager didn't get along. Compared to Phil Jackson and Jerry Krause, the current coach-management relationship translates into practically best friends.