The Chicago Bulls won more regular season games than any team in the NBA over the last two seasons for three main reasons. They are as follows, though the order of importance is up for debate:
1. Point guard Derrick Rose turned into a legitimate superstar, becoming the youngest MVP in NBA history during his third season.
2. The Bulls proved to be one of the league's deepest teams, with the self-proclaimed "Bench Mob" turning into a real asset for Chicago.
3. The team hit the jackpot with coach Tom Thibodeau, who turned the Bulls into what might be the NBA's best defensive team.
In his "Book of Basketball", Bill Simmons once wondered if NBA coaching even mattered. Thibodeau proved his worth beyond a doubt during his first two seasons in Chicago. He is one of the main reasons the Bulls made the relatively mind-blowing immediate transition from being a team that finished eighth in the Eastern Conference standings two seasons in a row to a team that finished No. 1 in the East in consecutive seasons.
Now, Thibodeau is ready to get paid, and the coach and the team are at odds over money. The market for Thibodeau could have potentially been shaped on Sunday, however, when the Oklahoma City Thunder signed coach Scott Brooks to a four-year extension.
Brooks, of course, led the mostly 23-years-old-and-under Thunder to the NBA Finals this season, and took the team to a conference finals in 2010-2011. Brooks' future was very much up in the air a week ago, but now he'll be staying in Oklahoma City on a contract that will pay him approximately $16 million. Brooks and Thibodeau are likely to be valued in the same ballpark. Perhaps this will set the stage for the Bulls and Thibs to get talks moving once again.
The Bulls have already picked up Thibodeau's option for next season.