Tom Thibodeau reportedly pushing to bring Carmelo Anthony to Bulls

Carmelo Anthony glazed donut face

Carmelo Anthony is widely expected to opt out of his contract Monday and become a free agent. The Chicago Bulls are said to be one of the teams he’s most strongly considering, and it sounds like the interest from the Bulls is equally strong.

In fact, reports say Tom Thibodeau, who is not exactly a rah-rah kind of coach, has been actively recruiting ‘Melo.

The Chicago Sun-Times says Thibodeau has used back channels to express to Anthony what he thinks the forward could do for the team. Thibs also reportedly has been doing his homework by calling many of Anthony’s former coaches.

The obvious question about ‘Melo joining the Bulls is whether he’ll fit in with the team’s defense. Thibodeau relies upon strong and active defense from his players; ‘Melo doesn’t always give the best effort on that end of the floor. Thibodeau reportedly believes he can get Anthony to do what they need.

In addition to Thibodeau, Joakim Noah reportedly has been working hard since the All-Star break to convince ‘Melo to join the team. Given all the reports coming from Chicago, nobody should be surprised if Chicago lands the Knicks star.

Chest bump to Pro Basketball Talk

Lakers reportedly interested in Tom Thibodeau as head coach

Tom ThibodeauThe Los Angeles Lakers are beginning their search for a new head coach, and one of the candidates on their list might be Tom Thibodeau.

ESPN LA’s Dave McMenamin reported Thursday that the Lakers plan to reach out to the Chicago Bulls to ask permission to interview Thibodeau.

David Kaplan of CSN Chicago later reported that the Lakers had not yet asked permission from the Bulls to interview Thibs, but that doesn’t mean anything; he team still has plenty of time to ask for permission.

Thibs is under contract through 2016-2017, but his name has come up in connection with other jobs. There was a report earlier this year that there was an agreement in place for Thibodeau to become the Knicks coach this summer, but with Phil Jackson taking over the team, it doesn’t look like that will happen.

Even if the Lakers ask permission to speak with Thibodeau, there’s no guarantee the Bulls would grant it. Why would they? Thibs is an excellent coach with a great reputation. Despite the Bulls’ first-round playoff exit to the Wizards, he’s still a defensive genius. Just that the Lakers have interest in him speaks to the level of respect teams have for him.

Tom Thibodeau goes nuts after controversial call costs Bulls game (Video)

Joakim-Noah-offensive-interferenceThe Chicago Bulls lost a heartbreaking game to the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, and the game’s ending has created a great deal of controversy. The Bulls converted what looked like the go-ahead basket with 1.7 seconds left in overtime, but the officials ruled that Joakim’s Noah’s tip-in occurred as the ball was above the cylinder, thus resulting in offensive interference.

As you can see from the video above, this sent Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau into a frenzy. Thibodeau and the Bulls felt as though the ball was going to come up short when Noah tipped it in.

“It’s a tough play,” Thibodeau after the game, via USA Today Sports. “From my angle, it looked like it was a good play, it looked like the ball was short.”

Chicago forward Carlos Boozer said the team felt like the game had been “stolen” from them, and many fans feel the same way. In my opinion, it certainly looked like Noah got his hand on the ball before it was directly above the cylinder. However, referee Ken Mauer said there is more to the rule than that.

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Joakim Noah: Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau doesn’t really get the whole resting thing

Joakim Noah is one player that the Chicago Bulls have had to lean on heavily to remain in the playoff hunt with Derrick Rose out. He is playing 38.3 minutes per game after averaging only 30.4 last season. Noah has responded to the increase in playing time, as he is averaging a double-double that includes career highs in points (12.1) and rebounds (11.4).

That doesn’t mean he isn’t tired. After logging 41 minutes in a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, Noah took a friendly jab at Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau for running him ragged.

“It’s definitely physical … definitely both,” he said when reporters asked if it was more a physical or mental challenge to play so many minutes. “It’s not really right after the game, but the next morning is the roughest. We have a great coach, but he doesn’t understand the whole resting [thing] yet, I don’t think. So … it’s all good. We all want to win. So, it’s good.”

The Chicago Sun-Times pointed out that Thibodeau chose to play four starters for eight or more minutes in the fourth quarter against Brooklyn, despite the fact that his team led by double digits throughout most of the game. On Sunday against the Indiana Pacers, Noah played only 32 minutes. Chicago lost that game 97-92.

It probably wouldn’t have been a bad idea for Thibodeau to rest some of his starters down the stretch against the Nets, especially since he knew his team had to play back-to-back games — the second of which was against the Pacers, who are second in the Eastern Conference standings. However, there isn’t much to question about the way Thibodeau has coached this season. The Bulls are in 5th place in the East and in line for a playoff spot. Considering the 2011 NBA MVP has watched the entire thing from the bench, Chicago’s coach must be doing a lot of things right.

Photo credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

Tom Thibodeau Calls Out Refs for Not Giving Derrick Rose More Calls

Even after the final buzzer sounds to end a game, another game begins: the one that happens in the postgame news conference. Phil Jackson used to be a master in that setting, finding ways to tweak the officials so he’d get calls in his team’s favor. In last year’s postseason, Phil primed the refs before the Thunder series by suggesting Kevin Durant gets calls he shouldn’t. Then he said refs need to watch out for Steve Nash’s carries. The result may be a minimal fine from David Stern, but you can’t put a price tag on extra calls from intimidated referees.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau must have kept that in mind, because he made a point to call out the refs following his team’s Game 4 loss in Miami.

Speaking about Derrick Rose after the game, Thibodeau said “He hasn’t been able to get to the line like we thought he would. There’s a lot of contact, and he hasn’t gotten calls.”

The numbers would back up Thibodeau’s assertion — Rose only attempted seven free throws compared to 13 for LeBron James and 11 for Chris Bosh. The Heat got to the line 38 times compared to 22 for Chicago, but they also were more aggressive with their drives to the hoop, and you can’t say LeBron got the calls — he was whistled for an offensive foul at the end of regulation.

Whether Thibodeau was right or wrong with his assessment is debatable. What is a certainty is that it’s usually a good idea to complain that your team isn’t getting enough calls. Believe me, the referees hear the criticism — they listen. And more often than not, they try to make up for it in the next game.