Thibodeau: I Wouldn't Have Taken Assistant Role With Lakers

Tom Thibodeau explains why he wouldn't have worked under Ty Lue in Los Angeles

Zach Gelb
June 03, 2019 - 10:42 am
Tom Thibodeau NBA

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Tom Thibodeau was head coach of the Bulls from 2010-15 and led them to the playoffs each season, including the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011. He was also head coach of the Timberwolves and led them to their first playoff appearance in 14 years before getting fired in January.

Thibodeau, 61, hopes to be a head coach again, but he likely wouldn’t go the assistant route. Which means he wouldn’t have ended up with the Lakers had they hired Ty Lue.

“Probably not,” Thibodeau said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I’ve known Ty for a long time. I coached him in Houston, and when he first got into coaching, we were in Boston together so I consider him a really good friend. But I still have some time on my contract. I’ll be patient and just wait for the right opportunity to come along.”

Thibodeau is known for his relentless, defense-first approach. Many wonder, however, if that style can win in today’s NBA, especially with today’s players.

“I think you’re always looking to learn and grow,”  Thibodeau said. “You never want to stay the same. You want to study the trends of the game. You want to study who the players are, how you motivate them, how you communicate with them – those types of things. There’s all different personalities in terms of coaching, so I think the most important thing is you have to be yourself, you have to stay true to yourself, and you have to have the things you believe in.”

Thibodeau is 352-246 (.589) in the regular season and 24-32 (.429) in the playoffs. He has three 50-win seasons and one 60-win season on his resume.

“I think I have a pretty good understanding of what wins in this league,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to the right opportunities.”

Click below to listen to Thibodeau’s interview in its entirety.