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Players vouch for Thibodeau

It seems like only a matter of time before Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau receives a long-term contract extension.

In the meantime, Thibodeau's future is up for discussion.

The Bulls' second-year coach denied a national report Friday that he was unhappy that the team had not yet extended his initial contract. He signed a two-year deal with a team option before the 2010-11 season and has led the Bulls to back-to-back postseason berths since then.

Thibodeau won the NBA's Coach of the Year award in his first season at the helm. A strong likelihood exists that he could win the award for a second consecutive season, especially considering that the Bulls have dealt with injuries to starters throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

Although Thibodeau denied that he was unhappy with his contract, his players said he deserved a long and expensive contract extension.

"He doesn't talk about that stuff," Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said, "but we need to get him an extension ASAP."

Boozer praised Thibodeau for his work with the team.

"We know how great he's been for us and what he's meant for our team," Boozer said. "This is a tough season: Sixty-six games crunched into like four months. I think he's been a great manager for us. Like baseball. He's done a great job of pushing us when we need to be pushed [and] of taking his foot off of the gas pedal when we need some rest. Our record reflects that.

"At the same time, he's still teaching us the right things. Obviously, that's the coach we all want to play for until we finish."

-Tom Musick


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