Jeff Van Gundy says if the Chicago Bulls have issues with Tom Thibodeau, they should resolve them because the coach is "an exceptional talent."
"There's nobody that does a better job with his team in the whole league," Van Gundy said Monday on The Carmen & Jurko Show on ESPN Chicago 1000. "I would suspect that he would be back for a long time. I know he loves the city, he loves his team, you can tell. Everything I've ever heard about Jerry Reinsdorf as an owner is that he's a man's man. I'm pretty good friends with [former Bulls coach] Tim Floyd, and Tim Floyd raves about him as does Tom.
"I would suspect if [general manager] Gar Forman or [executive vice president] John Paxson have an issue with Tom, what it could be I don't know, but if they do, they should try to get it resolved in a positive manner because Tom's an exceptional talent, and one of the reasons the Bulls have been so good and so overachieving since he's been there is because of his great work. I hope it works out because it's a great place and it's a great basketball city."
Reports have surfaced this season that there is more friction in the relationship between Thibodeau and the front office. The team parted ways with assistant coach and Thibodeau confidant Ron Adams before the season, and the Bulls traded a Thibodeau favorite, forward Luol Deng, to the Cleveland Cavaliers in January.
Thibodeau has also had to deal with questions during his tenure in Chicago about how he manages playing time for many of his players. One report even claimed Thibodeau has a deal in place to coach the New York Knicks next season.
Van Gundy brushed off the notion that Thibodeau is thinking about anything other than what's right in front of him.
"The nonsense is certainly that he has a deal in place," said Van Gundy, who has remained good friends with Thibodeau after the Bulls coach was an assistant on his staff in New York and Houston. "First of all, if anybody knows Tom, he's thinking about tomorrow's practice, not about next year.
"The friction between he and their front office, I can go only on what I read, and enough has been leaked out to the media to say that something is wrong. The Bulls have leaked out some negative stuff about how he's maybe too hard on players. He's not totally in charge if he comes back obviously because they can fire him, which I wouldn't think they would do, but listen, the NBA is a crazy place. You never know."