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Coach Tom Thibodeau values input more than fancy title

Coach Tom Thibodeau says there is ‘‘constant communication’’ between him front office. | Getty Images

Coach Tom Thibodeau says there is ‘‘constant communication’’ between him and the front office. | Getty Images

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Updated: March 3, 2014 5:57PM



NEW ORLEANS — When the Los Angeles Clippers acquired Doc Rivers from the Boston Celtics last offseason, he became not only their coach but also their senior vice president of basketball operations.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Saturday he doesn’t need all that. All he wants is for his voice to be heard by the front office.

‘‘It’s not like you’re in one box and management is in another box,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘You’re always talking to each other. So you bring ideas to them, and they bring ideas to you. Ultimately, you want what’s best for the team. So there is constant communication. I’m good with what we’re doing.’’

What helps is that Thibodeau is an NBA lifer, kicking around the league since 1989. He keeps files on players so that if one becomes available, sort of like guard D.J. Augustin did this season, he can pass that along to general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson. The file also helps him have an idea of how he will coach a certain player if management brings him in.

‘‘You’re in constant communication,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘So when I hear things, I pass them along, too. We’re always talking about our team. I think that’s important. The important thing is to understand how you feel about the team. I love the team we have; I think we have more than enough to win with. I love the fighting spirit of our team.’’

Poor Deng

Former Bulls forward Luol Deng apparently is starting to feel trapped with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The New York Daily News reported Deng privately has been telling friends the Cavs are ‘‘a mess.’’

Deng’s 15.4 points per game with the Cavs are down from the 19 he was averaging with the Bulls, and his five rebounds per game with the Cavs are the fewest he has averaged as an NBA player.

Even worse for Deng, the Cavs’ lack of understanding about how to use him might cost him money this summer in free agency.

Changing of the guard

Thibodeau insisted he still was weighing who would be his starting point guard moving forward, but he chose Augustin over Kirk Hinrich for a second consecutive game Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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