As the Chicago Bulls remain silent amid reports that at least two teams plan to ask their permission to interview coach Tom Thibodeau, Charles Barkley has some advice for what he calls "the stupidest organization in the NBA."
"Every year the idiots in Chicago, either they don't want to pay Thibs or his name comes up for other jobs. I wish the Bulls were smart enough to say 'We've got one of the best coaches in the NBA and he's not going anywhere,' " Barkley said Wednesday on the "Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "I don't understand why they don't appreciate Thibs there."
The Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies reportedly plan to ask the Bulls' permission to interview Thibodeau, who is under contract in Chicago for three more years. Since Thibodeau is under contract the Bulls would certainly want to be compensated, likely with a draft pick, if a team wanted to hire him away from Chicago.
Thibodeau, who won the NBA's Coach of the Year after leading the Bulls to 62 victories in 2010-11, has established himself as one of the league's top coaches. He has led the Bulls to the playoffs in each of his four seasons, including the past two when Derrick Rose played in just 10 games because of two knee injuries.
"No guys does more with less than Coach Thibodeau," Barkley said. "... He gets more out of their team than any coach could. Now, if he's not happy and someone wants to give a bunch of draft picks for him that's a totally different animal. But it's disappointing to me that every single year there's chatter about Thibs. You think people would let somebody say something about Gregg Popovich? 'He's our coach. He's not going anywhere.' The Spurs would release a statement ASAP."
Thibodeau and the front office have clashed at times over the firing of assistant Ron Adams, a Thibodeau confidant who was let go by general manager Gar Forman, and the trade of Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers in January.
To this point the front office -- and Thibodeau -- have stayed silent on the issue. Both sides declined comment last week at the NBA scouting combine. Barkley said that's the wrong strategy for the Bulls.
"They don't have to address rumors, just come out and say he's our coach and he's not going anywhere," Barkley said. "That shuts up all the chatter. If you let rumors keep circulating it just gets louder. All the Bulls got to say is 'we've got one of the best coaches in the NBA and he's not going anywhere.' That would shut the chatter up immediately."