Charles Barkley said Tom Thibodeau "will have a job within a week" if the Bulls can't work out a contract extension with the coach who has led Chicago to two straight seasons with the NBA's best record.
"I don't understand why they are not paying Thibs," Barkley said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "He's a terrific coach. Seems like a great guy. I've only bumped into him a couple times. I don't know him, but he seems like a great guy and is a hell of a coach. Let me tell you this, he'll have a job within a week if they don't take care of him. He's done a fantastic job.
"You look at that Bulls team, he's not winning with the best players. He's not winning with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. For the Bulls to have the best record (the past two seasons) and be really competitive without Derrick Rose basically for a year, he's doing a hell of a job. He deserves more credit than the Bulls are giving him."
The Bulls picked up the option year on Thibodeau's three-year deal earlier this summer and said they would work out an extension. But with training camp less than two weeks away, there is still no deal.
Thibodeau's third year in Chicago promises to be a trying one with Rose expected to miss much of this season as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn ACL. Barkley considers this season to be a wash for the Bulls, and he hopes the team will be careful with Rose's return.
"I really feel for Derrick Rose," Barkley said. "He's obviously a great player, but he's such a great kid. I just think you've got to be careful because you don't want to ruin the rest of his career. A lot of people who tear one ACL will tear the other ACL because their body is overcompensating. I think they have to be really careful with Derrick Rose. If they don't have Derrick Rose they will be back at the bottom of the pile again."