DALLAS — It might have been a nice gesture, or at least a reassuring one, but coach Tom Thibodeau really didn’t need it.
Speaking on WGWG-FM (87.7) on Thursday, vice president of basketball operations John Paxson again addressed all of the speculation that Thibodeau’s lifespan as the Bulls’ coach could be a short one, especially with the New York Knicks’ job likely to open up this summer.
“He is not going anywhere. … I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that our team is the best prepared in the NBA with Tom as our head coach,’’ Paxson said.
Thibodeau, who is under contract through the 2016-17 season, has insisted that he wasn’t going anywhere.
The latest came Friday, before the morning shootaround.
“Nothing needs to be said,’’ Thibodeau said of Paxson’s comments. “To me it’s like I see it. I talk to Jerry [Reinsdorf], I see John, I see [general manager] Gar [Forman], we talk all the time, so it’s just something that keeps coming up. No matter how you answer, it will keep coming up, so I don’t waste any time with that.’’
Asked if he was bothered by the assumption that his exit would be because of some perceived discontent between himself and the front office, Thibodeau responded, “Well, obviously it’s bothersome to you, so I’m just worried about [the Dallas Mavericks].’’
The Thibodeau effect
Bulls players are used to hearing from opponents on how hard they play, but the ultimate compliment as of late is opposing players telling them how prepared they seemed to be on the court.
“We get a lot of respect,’’ Carlos Boozer said. “I mean after games players say to us, ‘Man, do you guys [communicate]. I’ve never heard a team talk as much as you guys do.’ Like when they call their play out, we call it out to each other because we do our homework. We read our scouting reports, we know what our opponent is doing.
“There are a lot of good teams in this league, so if you don’t do your homework you’ll get surprised. You don’t want to get surprised on game day.’’
Still not polished
It would seem that Taj Gibson should be excited with the 17.3 points and 7.4 rebounds he has averaged over the last eight games coming into the weekend, but he’s not.
“I’m still working on my defense,’’ Gibson said. “I want to be defensive savvy. I feel like I need to pick up my game on that end, so we just have to keep working it.’’