Hornets Preparing to Make Offer to Thibodeau

Published: May 25, 2010

The New Orleans Hornets will reportedly extend Tom Thibodeau an offer to become their next head coach. What remains to be seen however, is whether or not he will accept the job, or wait to see what happens in Chicago.

Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report:

“Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau has emerged as the frontrunner for the New Orleans Hornets’ coaching job and an offer could be forthcoming in the near future, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Hornets are moving toward formulating an offer for Thibodeau and don’t want to risk losing him to another team with a coaching vacancy.

Sources say it’s been an excruciating process because general manager Jeff Bower and president Hugh Weber have also been impressed with their other finalist, Portland Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams. Sources say Hornets point guard Chris Paul(notes) has also been an advocate for the Portland assistant coach.”

“Thibodeau has interviewed for several jobs over recent years, including Philadelphia, Detroit and Sacramento, but has yet to land one. It’s unclear whether Thibodeau would immediately accept an offer or wait for the chance to meet with the Bulls once the Celtics eliminate the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference finals.

Even with the future of Celtics coach Doc Rivers uncertain, sources say Thibodeau has been given no assurances he would be a strong candidate to replace him. Rivers has been contemplating leaving the Celtics with a year left on his contract and return home to Orlando to spend more time with his family.”

John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, later reported that Thibodeau would be offered the job.

“After completing an extensive head coaching search that involved interviewing eight candidates, the New Orleans Hornets are expected to extend Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau a contract offer later this week to become their next head coach, league sources confirmed Monday night.”


First let’s address the reported Thibodeau offer that’s in the work. Each time the Celtics win games his stock gets higher and higher around the league. Recently it seems to be shooting up so fast that big market teams like the Chicago Bulls are being mentioned as possible suitors, but let’s get to that in a minute.

The biggest critique of Thibodeau is that he’s too intense and too committed to his job.

… that’s a good thing.

As an assistant it’s well known that he’s responsible for designing defensive schemes for the likes of Jeff Van Gundy and Doc Rivers, and consequently in his past 20 years as an NBA assistant, Thibodeau has helped his teams finish in the top 10 in field-goal defense 17 times. I’ve mentioned that before, but it’s so remarkable that I feel it deserves to be said again.

There aren’t many reasons to doubt that he’ll be a good head coach, or that the Hornets will improve defensively. What does remain to be seen is whether or not he will accept the offer. Fortunately, the Hornets have two things going for them.

1. It’s likely that the Bulls, all of a sudden in the running for LeBron James, would want to be sure that Thibodeau is a guy that LeBron would play for should Bron decide to head to Chicago. They can’t even talk to him until July 1st at 12:01 AM and you can bet that they won’t be bringing on any new coaches until they are certain of who LeBron wants to play for. Unless they plan on breaking rules with pretty serious consequences, they probably won’t know who that is for quite some time.

Nobody should blame them at all for waiting. When there’s a chance to land a player like LeBron you have to go for it.

2. As Woj noted, Tom Thibodeau has interviewed all over the place for a head coaching job and has yet to land one. Granted he’s never been the media darling he is now, but don’t forget- he was a qualified candidate after 2007-2008 too, when the Celtics won the title, and he still didn’t land a job the following off season. Something tells me that any reasonably priced offer, especially one that involves a team with Chris Paul on it, will be too good to pass up. He’s bound to be hungry after 18 years playing no better than second fiddle.

As for the report that Chris Paul would prefer Monty Williams, it really doesn’t matter too much. He understands that the front office runs the front office, and that’s probably why we aren’t hearing about his opinion on twitter, or facebook. 

Come game time he will be perfectly happy with the decision because of his feelings on competition-

“I hate losing more than I love winning”– CP3

Under Tommy T (so much easier to type than Thibodeau), the club would be expected to finish with quite a few more victories, and as the old saying goes, “winning fixes everything”.

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