El Segundo, Calif. — The Boston Celtics apparently will need a new assistant coach after the NBA finals. Tom Thibodeau accepted a three-year contract to become the Chicago Bulls’ head coach on Saturday, according to multiple media reports in Chicago.
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.
Bulls officials declined comment. The team and the NBA agreed to wait until after the finals are over to make the hiring official.
“We do not have any rules that prohibit a team from announcing a coaching hire during the finals,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank said. “In the Bulls case, because they have no plans to consummate any deal before the end of the finals, we agreed that they should defer any announcement to the conclusion of the finals.”