It's Thibodeau Time

Celtics assistant offered three-year contract

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Tom Thibodeau, a defensive specialist, has never been the head coach of an NBA team.

    Welcome to the Tom Thibodeau era.

    The Celtics assistant coach accepted the Chicago Bulls' head coaching job Saturday, according to multiple media reports in Chicago, including Bulls.com.

    The announcement will not be made until after the NBA Finals, but reports say Thibodeau was offered a three-year contract.

    Celtics coach Doc Rivers would not confirm the reports before Boston practiced the day before Game 2 of the series, but both he and his players agreed that Thibodeau would be a good choice.

    "I hope it's true, but we're not going to comment on it, I can tell you that,' Rivers said. "We're focused on the NBA finals. There's two teams. There's the Lakers and the Celtics, and that's what we’re going to keep the focus on.

    "But on Tom, he deserves the job. I think he's the best candidate out there. I've said that for three years now. So let's hope it's true."

    Thibodeau, considered one of the NBA's top defensive minds, was also a candidate for jobs in New Orleans and New Jersey. He was not made available before the Celtics worked out at the Lakers' training center.

    Executive vice president John Paxson and GM Gar Forman met with Thibodeau Wednesday in Los Angeles, on the eve of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

    The longtime assistant was the architect of the defense that contained Kobe Bryant when the Celtics beat the Lakers for the title two years ago, and the one that helped them knock off LeBron James and Cleveland during a surprising run to these finals.

    "Thibs brings a passion for defense, I think," Kevin Garnett said. "When you think of Tom Thibodeau and what's his strengths, he's obviously a defense guy. He watches an uncountable amount of film. Hes a worker. He's a guy that loves his job. He does it with passion. If he is not with us next year, he's well deserving of it, as well as anybody else on our coaching staff."

    Bulls officials also declined comment.

    The Bulls fired Vinny Del Negro last month after two seasons at the helm.