The Mailbag: Would Tom Thibodeau Really Go To The Lakers?


Welcome to The Chicago Homer’s Mailbag. It runs once a week unless it doesn’t, and in it I answer questions from readers via Twitter or email. The questions can be about any damn thing you please, and there likely isn’t a question I won’t answer. There may be questions I can’t answer, but I’ll try.

If you’d like to submit a question for the next edition of the mailbag it’s pretty simple. Either ask the question on Twitter using the #AskTCH hashtag — as long as you use the hashtag I will see it — or send an email to

And now that you know how to do it, let’s get to the this week’s questions.

This is a good week for #AskTCH, as we not only received a lot of questions from you, but they were on a variety of topics. And some of them were even good! The most popular topic of discussion centered around Thursday’s story about the Lakers wanting to talk to Tom Thibodeau, so even though I wrote a bit about it then, we’ll start there.

It can, though I really don’t expect it to. We did just see it last season when Doc Rivers was traded from the Celtics to the Clippers, though there are a lot of differences in the scenarios. Doc left a Boston team entering a rebuild for a Clippers team that was ready to win now, and we can’t really say that about the Lakers, even if the Lakers are never down for long.

What’s funny to me, is all the strange coincidences at play here. First of all, Doc Rivers was the first coach to really do this, as he had three years and $21 million left on his deal in Boston before being traded. Well, who did Thibodeau spend years with as an assistant before coming to the Bulls?

Doc Rivers.

But what really gets me is how, if Thibs did go to the Lakers, we’d see history repeating itself a bit. It wasn’t that long ago when the Bulls had a successful coach named Phil Jackson, and he was basically pushed out the door before surfacing in Los Angeles with the Lakers. The Bulls would hire Iowa State coach Tim Floyd to replace him (and I don’t know what happened after that I blacked out).

Now the Bulls might trade a successful coach — though not nearly as successful as Jackson — to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the odds-on favorite to replace him would be Gar Forman’s friend, and Iowa State coach, Fred Hoiberg.

But, like I said, I just don’t see it happening. Both because I’m not sure the Lakers is all that appealing of a job to Thibodeau, and I’m not sure what the Lakers could/would give the Bulls for Thibs that would be worth it.

The only reason you let Thibs talk to the Lakers is because the Lakers might be really stupid. The only real asset the Lakers have that would be attractive to the Bulls is their first round pick in this summer’s draft. Right now the Lakers are guaranteed to pick no later than sixth overall, but the lottery isn’t until May 20. There’s a chance that the NBA could rig another lotter — kidding (or am I?) —  and the Lakers end up with a top three pick, maybe even the No. 1.

What if the Lakers want Thibodeau so badly that they’d be willing to trade that pick to the Bulls? Thibs is a great coach, but great players win NBA titles, not coaches. Coaches only help. So if the Bulls could draft a player like Jabari Parker — think about teaming together two Chicago kids from the same high school in Parker and Rose — you almost have to trade Thibodeau to do so.

What I don’t get more than the Bulls being willing to let the Lakers talk to Thibodeau is why the Lakers are still letting Kobe Bryant run things. Kobe is a great player, and he had a great career, but he turns 36 in August. He just missed the season with a torn Achilles. He’s not going to be around much longer, and if he is, he’s not going to be an impactful player.

So why the hell are the Lakers so concerned about what Kobe wants? Remember, it was Kobe who told the Lakers that Thibodeau was a coach he’d like them to get.

Well I can tell you right off the bat that it’s not the Cubs-White Sox games. They’ve fucked that whole thing up so badly that it’s not even funny. The novelty of it all was already starting to wear off, and then they decided to start scheduling the games on weeknights rather than weekdays. Now, I know why they did this, but it hasn’t worked as well as it was hoped.

Essentially Jerry Reinsdorf convinced his buddy Bud Selig to move the games to week days because the Sox used to sell more tickets for weekend games — like most teams — and sold more tickets to Cubs games than any other. So Reinsdorf figured he could make more money if the games were played on a weeknight when the Sox generally don’t sell nearly as many tickets.

He was trying to improve the gate for two games that normally would be against the Royals or Indians. The logic made sense, but it’s only killing the interest in the series.  Anyway, this isn’t really what you asked, and I already solved all of MLB’s problems if they want to listen to me.

The easy answer would be to say the Blackhawks-Wild series is the most intriguing, and it probably is. It’s playoff hockey with the one team in this city that we can reasonably hope will win a title. That being said, I don’t expect the Wild to pose much of a threat to the Blackhawks. I’m not saying they suck, but they’re not much better than mediocre, and I have serious doubts about Minnesota’s defense and goaltending right now.

I wouldn’t be shocked if the Hawks won this series in four games, even if I’m expecting it to go five.

And I love the NFL Draft. Or at least I used to before they made it a week long event. Either way, I’m just happy I don’t have to choose between them too often, as the first round of the NFL Draft will be on Thursday May 8, which is an off day in the Hawks-Wild series.

That being said, if the Hawks want to jump out to a 4-0 lead early in Game Four on Friday night, allowing me to watch more of the draft, I won’t exactly be upset about it.

It doesn’t look like the Bears are going to get Aaron Donald in the draft. Are you going to cry? Who else do you want them to take?- Krieger

I’m not crying right now, but I make no promises about the future. Should the Bears miss out on Aaron Donald — and I agree with you, I don’t think he’s falling outside the top 10 anymore — it’d be about who is still available at 14. I’ll just say that if the Bears were going to go with a safety at that spot, I’d prefer Calvin Pryor over Ha Ha Clinton Dix, even though it would be fun to have a guy on the Bears that is essentially named Ha Ha, Dix. But I just think Pryor is the better player.

As for defensive tackles, honestly, after Donald there really isn’t any other DT in the draft that blows me away. Ra’Shede Hageman is a freak athlete, and can be very explosive, but he also disappeared at times. Timmy Jernigan has no first step. At all. That tells me he may end up being a very useful NFL defensive lineman, but he’s never going to amount to much more than a run-stuffer. Don’t get me wrong, that’s incredibly useful, but I don’t know if that’s what I want with the No. 14 pick.

Honestly, I’m wondering if the Bears should just trade down should Donald not be available. I still think both players like Hageman and Jernigan, as well as other DTs like Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt will be available later in the first round. In fact, I’d be cool with taking Arizona State’s Will Sutton in the second or third round as well. So maybe you trade down for a later first round pick and an extra pick in the middle rounds you can then use on a quarterback while still having the same amount of picks available to fill needs on defense.

My favorite move is the biggest one they made: signing Lamarr Houston. He is not a great pass-rusher, though he can improve in that area. What he already is, however, is fantastic against the run, and he’s incredibly versatile. By doing nothing but putting Houston in a Bears uniform out on the field they drastically improved the defense, and they didn’t have to break the bank to do so.

I really don’t know a damn thing about Brandon Graham (as an NFL player), nor have I done any research about him for this question, but yes. Please. Let’s do it. Rid me of Shea McClellin. Please.

/takes a look at Brandon Graham’s PFF grades.


(Brandon Graham’s overall grade from PFF last season was 8.7. Shea McClellin’s was -28.2.)

Well, I don’t think they’re getting Carmelo, so he’s not in it. This is my best guess based on what I think is the most likely to happen during the offseason

Derrick Rose, Lance Stephenson, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah.

Stephenson is the big free agent signing, and maybe he turns out to be the next James Harden, except a James Harden that plays defense. I put the odds of Stephenson being as good as Harden somewhere between LOL and NOPE, but there’s a chance I guess. Either way, he is a definite upgrade at the two-guard and gives the Bulls some much-needed offensive help.

Yeah, Alejandro got off to a great start to the season with three homers in the first few days, and has fallen off a cliff since. Obviously they could try to trade him, but I have serious doubts about the market for De Aza right now. And while I certainly could understand playing Jordan Danks more often, if for no other reason than to get Dayan Viciedo back in left field rather than right, where he’s been terrible, there’s more to De Aza right now than meets the eye.

Yes, he’s hitting .185/.255/.359, and that’s not good. He’s also been the victim of some shitty luck.

In his White Sox career De Aza had a BABIP of .337 coming in to this season. In 2014 he has a BABIP of .191, which is barely above his actual batting average. What’s worrisome is that while most of his peripherals are in line with his career averages, his line drive rate has dropped from 24% the last four seasons down to 19% this season. His infield pop-up percentage has also skyrocketed from 9% to 33%.

These are alarming trends, however, his BABIP almost has to improve, but I can’t tell you how much it will considering the line drive and pop-up rates. Either way, I don’t think the Sox would regret trading him, it’s just they might be better off waiting for the luck to balance out a bit more before moving him.

Until then, though, I’d definitely give Jordan Danks more playing time.

I have become a lot more optimistic about the Blackhawks chances in recent days, as Colorado and San Jose both got knocked out. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the Kings getting their shit together is necessarily a good thing, nor is the prospect of Jonathan Quick being on top of his game, but of the four teams remaining in the West, I believe the Blackhawks are the best team.

And I think the Bruins are the best team in the East by a lot.

So I’m thinking we’re going to get a Stanley Cup rematch. Hopefully it ends the same.

Because life just isn’t fair, my friend.


And that’s it for this week’s mailbag. If your question didn’t make it send in a better one next time.

Keep up to date with everything in Chicago sports by following The Chicago Homer on Twitter.

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